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Immigrants and the economy in:


Today, Indiana is home to almost 323,000 foreign-born residents. Immigrants in Indiana play an important role contributing to the state as both taxpayers and consumers. In 2014, immigrant-led households in Indiana earned $8.1 billion—or 5.0 percent of all income earned by Hoosiers that year. Immigrants also play a key role in Indiana’s STEM fields, such as information technology and research and development. Despite making up 4.9 percent of the state’s population, immigrants represented 10.6 percent of all Indiana STEM workers in 2014.

  • Immigrant Residents

  • Immigrant Share of Population

  • Immigrant Taxes Paid (2014)

  • Immigrant Spending Power (2014)

  • Immigrant Entrepreneurs

  • Employees at Immigrant-Owned Firms



In the United States, immigrants are more likely to be working-age than their U.S.-born counterparts. This allows them to contribute to the U.S. economy and to entitlement programs as they work and pay taxes. This is equally true in Indiana, where immigrants are far more likely to be of working age than the U.S.-born population.

Age Group Foreign-Born Population Share Native-Born Population Share
0-24 22.2% 34.8%
25-64 67.5% 50.8%
65+ 10.2% 14.5%


In 2010, roughly one in 10 American workers with jobs at private firms were employed at immigrant-founded companies. Such businesses also generated more than $775 billion in annual business revenue that year. In Indiana, like the country as a whole, immigrants are currently punching above their weight class as entrepreneurs. Foreign-born workers currently make up 6.5 percent of all entrepreneurs in the state, despite accounting for 4.9 percent of Indiana’s population.

People employed by immigrant-owned firms 66,753
Immigrant entrepreneurs 14,293
Business income of immigrant-owned firms $243.9M
Fortune 500 companies in Indiana founded by immigrants or their children 16.7%

Taxes & Spending Power

Nationally, immigrants earned $1.3 trillion in 2014 and contributed more than $104 billion in state and local taxes, as well as almost $224 billion in federal taxes. This left them with nearly $927 billion in spending power. Immigrants in Indiana play an important role contributing to the state’s economy, both as consumers and taxpayers.

Immigrant Household Income $8.1B
Taxes Paid $2.3B
State & Local Taxes $701.9M
Federal Taxes $1.6B
Total Spending Power $5.8B


Nationally, immigrants are 17.2 percent more likely to hold an advanced degree than the native-born. They are also more likely to have less than a high school education. Uniquely, this allows them to fill critical shortages at both ends of the skill spectrum, from high-tech fields to agriculture, hospitality, and service industries. This holds true in Indiana, where immigrants play a particularly large role as software developers, postsecondary teachers, and doctors.

Workforce Education Foreign-Born Population Native-Born Population
Less Than High School 29.6% 10.2%
High School & Some College 38.9% 65.5%
Bachelor's Degree 16.4% 15.7%
Graduate Degree 15.1% 8.6%
Top Industries with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Traveler accommodation  21.5%
Landscaping services  17.5%
Not specified industries  17.2%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, including junior colleges 13.5%
Computer systems design and related services  9.3%
Top Occupations with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Software Developers, applications and systems software 25.3%
Postsecondary teachers 22.7%
Physicians and Surgeons 17.7%
Packers and Packagers, hand 16.5%
Maids and Housekeeping cleaners 14.5%

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Between 2014 and 2024, science, technology, engineering, and math—or “STEM”—fields are projected to play a key role in U.S. economic growth, adding almost 800,000 new jobs and growing 37.0 percent faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. Immigrants are already playing a huge part ensuring that Indiana remains a leading innovator in industries like information technology.

STEM workers who are immigrants 11.3%
STEM Master’s students who are foreign nationals 32.2%
STEM PhD students who are foreign nationals 46.6%


In the coming years, the American healthcare industry is projected to see rapid growth—adding more new positions from 2014 to 2024 than any other industry in our economy. In Indiana, a state where more than one out of every 7 people is currently elderly, finding enough healthcare workers remains a challenge—and one that will likely worsen in the future.

Open healthcare jobs to unemployed healthcare workers 5:1
Doctors who were educated abroad 22.2%
Psychiatrists who were educated abroad 30.3%
Nurses who are foreign-born 3.8%
Health aides who are foreign-born 4.3%


Immigrant families have long played an important role helping to build housing wealth in the United States. In recent decades, the more than 40 million immigrants collectively in the country increased U.S. housing wealth by $3.7 trillion. Much of this was possible because immigrants moved into neighborhoods once in decline, helping to revitalize communities and make them more attractive to U.S.-born residents. In Indiana, immigrants are actively strengthening the state’s housing market.

Immigrant homeowners 70,623
Share of recent homebuyers who were foreign-born 5.8%
Housing wealth held by immigrant households $12.2B
Amount paid by immigrant-led households in rent $43.3M

International Students

International students in the United States contributed more than $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2014-2015 school year and supported more than 370,000 jobs through their tuition payments and day-to-day spending. Research has found that increases in the number of international students at American universities boost innovation and patent creation. International students represent a small portion of all students in Indiana, but they make a big impact.

Students at Indiana colleges and universities who are international 6.0%
Economic contribution of international students $831.5M
Jobs supported by international students 10,847

Voting Power

In 2014, Indiana was home to roughly 114,000 foreign-born residents who were eligible to vote, including an estimated 53,000 foreign-born residents who had formally registered. Those numbers are particularly meaningful given the narrow margins of victory that have decided elections in the state in recent years.

Immigrants eligible to vote 113,765
Immigrants registered to vote 53,415
Immigrants eligible to vote in 2020 129,539
2012 presidential election margin of victory 267,656

Undocumented Immigrants

The United States is currently home to an estimated 11.4 million undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom have lived in the country for more than five years. The presence of so many undocumented immigrants for such a long time presents many legal and political challenges. But while politicians continue to debate what to do about illegal immigration without any resolution, millions of undocumented immigrants are actively working across the country, and collectively, these immigrants have a large impact on the U.S. economy. This is true in Indiana, where undocumented immigrants contribute tens of millions of dollars in taxes each year.

Undocumented immigrants 106,590
Share of undocumented immigrants, working age 78.3%
Undocumented entrepreneurs 6,034
Undocumented Household Income $1.3B
Taxes Paid $148.8M
State & Local Taxes $64.8M
Federal Taxes $84.0M
Total Spending Power $1.1B

The Economic Impact of Refugees

Despite leaving extreme and dangerous situations in their home countries, refugees are often able to rebound and prosper as they become more integrated into American society. Nationwide, we find that refugees hold billions of dollars in spending power and pay more than $20 billion in tax contributions to federal, state, and local governments each year. At the state level, they contribute millions of added dollars to local economies, making them an important driver of growth and prosperity for communities around the country.

Key Stats
Number of Likely Refugees 17,593
State's Share of all Likely Refugees 0.8%
Share of Overall State Population, Refugee 0.3%
Taxes & Spending Power
Refugee Household Income $371.2M
Taxes Paid $94.0M
State & Local Taxes $34.2M
Federal Taxes $59.8M
Refugee Spending Power $277.2M

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