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Immigrants and the economy in:

Michigan

Today, the Great Lakes State is home to more than 640,000 individuals who were born in another country. Such immigrants serve as everything from college professors to mechanical engineers, making them critical contributors to Michigan’s economic success overall. Immigrants have also played an important role in preserving and growing Michigan’s manufacturing industry, including the advanced manufacturing fields that state leaders frequently focus on strengthening.

  • Immigrant Residents

    641,874
  • Immigrant Share of Population

    6.5%
  • Immigrant Taxes Paid (2014)

    $5.4B
  • Immigrant Spending Power (2014)

    $14.2B
  • Immigrant Entrepreneurs

    30,686
  • Employees at Immigrant-Owned Firms

    152,780

Demographics

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 Michigan, 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 18.7% 33.5%
25-64 65.1% 51.2%
65+ 16.2% 15.4%

Entrepreneurship

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 Michigan, like the country as a whole, immigrants are currently punching above their weight class as entrepreneurs. Foreign-born workers currently make up 8.3 percent of all entrepreneurs in the state, despite accounting for 6.5 percent of Michigan’s population.

People employed by immigrant-owned firms 152,780
Immigrant entrepreneurs 30,686
Business income of immigrant-owned firms $608.4M
Fortune 500 companies in Michigan founded by immigrants or their children 33.3%

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 Michigan play an important role contributing to the state’s economy, both as consumers and taxpayers.

Immigrant Household Income $19.6B
Taxes Paid $5.4B
State & Local Taxes $1.5B
Federal Taxes $3.8B
Total Spending Power $14.2B

Workforce

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 Michigan, where immigrants play a particularly large role as surgeons, software developers, and agricultural workers.

Workforce Education Foreign-Born Population Native-Born Population
Less Than High School 21.7% 9.1%
High School & Some College 37.6% 64.6%
Bachelor's Degree 20.5% 16.1%
Graduate Degree 20.2% 10.2%
Top Industries with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Computer systems design and related services  25.3%
Crop production  18.8%
Groceries and related products  16.3%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, including junior colleges 14.4%
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services  12.5%
Top Occupations with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Physicians and Surgeons 30.2%
Software developers, applications and systems software 27.9%
Miscellaneous agricultural workers, including animal breeders 26.9%
Postsecondary teachers 22.2%
Mechanical engineers 21.7%

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 Michigan remains a leading innovator in industries like mechanical and industrial engineering.

STEM workers who are immigrants 15.0%
STEM Master’s students who are foreign nationals 33.1%
STEM PhD students who are foreign nationals 39.0%

Healthcare

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 Michigan, a state where more than one out of every 6 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 29.5%
Psychiatrists who were educated abroad 38.7%
Nurses who are foreign-born 8.0%
Health aides who are foreign-born 4.5%

Housing

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 Michigan, immigrants are actively strengthening the state’s housing market.

Immigrant homeowners 160,389
Share of recent homebuyers who were foreign-born 7.7%
Housing wealth held by immigrant households $34.6B
Amount paid by immigrant-led households in rent $88.9M

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 Michigan, but they make a big impact.

Students at Michigan colleges and universities who are international 5.2%
Economic contribution of international students $1.0B
Jobs supported by international students 13,448

Voting Power

In 2014, Michigan was home to more than 308,000 foreign-born residents who were eligible to vote, including an estimated 186,000 foreign-born residents who had formally registered. Those numbers are particularly meaningful given the narrow margins of victory that have decided elections in this swing state in recent years. In 2012, President Barack Obama won Michigan by less than 450,000 votes.

Immigrants eligible to vote 308,037
Immigrants registered to vote 186,432
Immigrants eligible to vote in 2020 344,507
2012 presidential election margin of victory 449,313

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 Michigan, where undocumented immigrants contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes each year.

Undocumented immigrants 126,398
Share of undocumented immigrants, working age 78.2%
Undocumented entrepreneurs 5,149
Undocumented Household Income $2.0B
Taxes Paid $260.8M
State & Local Taxes $82.9M
Federal Taxes $177.9M
Total Spending Power $1.8B

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 74,284
State's Share of all Likely Refugees 3.2%
Share of Overall State Population, Refugee 0.8%
Taxes & Spending Power
Refugee Household Income $1.6B
Taxes Paid $395.7M
State & Local Taxes $130.8M
Federal Taxes $264.9M
Refugee Spending Power $1.2B

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