The Washington Times - February 23, 2013, 05:51PM

The home of the Grand Ole Opry has earned a new nickname: “Little Kurdistan.”

And no wonder. According to a new analysis of foreign born populations by demographer, Wendell Cox, the fastest growth in the numbers of newcomers is taking place in unusual spots around America, all essentially in Red States. Topping the list is Nashville, which has doubled its number of immigrants in the last decade.

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“Besides the Grand Old Opry, the city also boasts the nation’s largest Kurdish population, and a thriving ‘Little Kurdistan,’ as well as growing Mexican, Somali and other immigrant enclaves,” says Joel Kotkin, a contributor to Forbes magazine who analyzed the implications.

“Other cities are equally surprising,” he says.

In the second spot, it’s Birmingham, Alabama - followed by Indianapolis, Louisville, and Charlotte, NC, which have all doubled their foreign born population between 2000 and 2011.

In sixth place is Richmond, Virginia; followed by Raleigh, North Carolina; Orlando and Jacksonville in Florida, and finally Columbus, Ohio.

These states are Republican friendly, and don’t fit the profile of a liberal immigrant haven.

“Although the New York metropolitan area still has the greatest numeric growth in immigrants since 2000, a net gain of more than 600,000, there’s no question that the momentum lies with these fast growing immigrant hubs,” Mr. Kotkin says.

“The reasons are not too difficult to fathom. In the modern global economy, migrants represent the veritable ‘canaries in the coalmine’. They go to economic opportunities are often the greatest, which often means thriving places like Nashville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Columbus or at No. 11, Austin.”