Immigrants in Isle of Wright and Surry Counties

IOW and adjacent Surry county have small populations, 33K and 7K respectively, so outsiders stand out. In some circles that means anyone who doesn’t hunt, or farm, or have an ancestor that fought against the North, own a chainsaw, wear a baseball cap or drive an American car. In other circles it’s anyone who’s not an American Indian. The most recent addition is Hispanics. A small, but sudden increase occurred after Hurricane Isabel, perhaps bought on by a great number of outside repair and tree removal crews that swept through the area. For example, our new roof was installed by a crew of Hispanics from Alabama who stripped and replaced asphalt shingles for a 3200 sq ft house in 8 hours – impressive work effort. Meanwhile the number of Mexican restaurants and variety of Hispanic foodstuffs in supermarkets have increased. Several years back a part- time Spanish radio station appeared at 1050AM on the AM dial. It’s now a full day version, 7 days a week and runs a job listing program weekdays during 8 – 9AM.

A few representatives of most other nationalities are scattered about the region mostly because we are accessed by many paths with many military bases, nice beach area, and plenty of tourists that bring people in from all over for extended visits. Locally, however, the only other big change in the last 10 years has been conversion of convenience stores to ownership by middle easterners. The first one was claimed by Egyptians while a neighbor believes four of them, which is about half the total in Isle of Wight and Surry counties, are all operated by Pakistanis. My Egyptians identified themselves as such. I’m not sure how the neighbor identified the Pakistanis (he’s not himself of middle-eastern origin).

African Americans, of course, aren’t immigrants, but since this is the subject of conversation, it may be appropriate to plug in a link for a guide to local African American heritage sites:,1,4711678.story?ctrack=1&cset=true.

A related problem is that of summer hires by local theme parks that brings its own complications as noted in this next Daily Press article:


About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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