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NASHVILLE = ‘LITTLE KURDISTAN’

According to a new study of foreign-born populations by demographer Wendell Cox, the fastest growth in the numbers of newcomers is in some surprising spots. They’re heading to red states. Topping the list is Nashville, Tenn., which has doubled its number of immigrants in the last decade.

“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 data.

In second place, it’s Birmingham, Ala. — followed by Indianapolis; Louisville, Ky.; and Charlotte, N.C. All doubled their foreign-born population between 2000 and 2011. In sixth place is Richmond, then Raleigh, N.C.; Orlando and Jacksonville in Florida; and Columbus, Ohio.

“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 coal mine.’ They go to where economic opportunities are often the greatest, which often means thriving places like Nashville.”

PORKULISCIOUS

There are elected officials hungry for favors from special-interest projects that involve lots of spending. Then there are lawmakers who are greedy for such favors, particularly out of pork barrels. That in mind, Citizens Against Government Waste has announced the six nominees for its “2012 Porker of the Year,” to be decided by public ballot by March 6.

The nominees include New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for his obsession with soda pop, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, for her interest in extending federal subsidies for green energy; and Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican, for his recommendations to bring back earmarks. See the candidates and the ballot here: cagw.org.

POLL DU JOUR

• 55 percent of Americans say the United States is viewed favorably “in the eyes of the world.”

• 37 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats agree.

• 51 percent of Americans overall say President Obama is respected by other world leaders.

• 21 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 80 percent of Democrats agree.

• 40 percent overall are “satisfied” with America’s position in the world.

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