Immigrants make up just under 7 percent of the Tulsa metro area’s population, but they contributed nearly $4 billion to its gross domestic product in 2015.
Immigrants’ presence in the workforce has created or kept more than 3,000 manufacturing jobs here.
That and other data is from a new economic impact report for Mayor G.T. Bynum’s New Tulsans Initiative. Coordinator Christina Starzl Mendoza said the initiative’s goal is a comprehensive set of policies to help immigrants thrive and keep contributing.
“How can we make sure that they feel welcomed and that they’re able to understand what it means to be a Tulsa resident? Also, I think that it’s an opportunity for native-born Tulsans to get to know their neighbors a little bit better,” Mendoza said.
According to the report, immigrants account for 28 percent of overall population growth, have $1.2 billion in spending power and drove up total housing value $600 million dollars over five years.
The report also said immigrants account for nearly one in 10 local entrepreneurs. Those 4,000-plus small business owners generated $55 million in business income in 2015.
“All of that stuff makes a huge difference, and that’s all types of immigrants who have chosen to make Tulsa home, regardless of status,” said Rich André with New American Economy.
Public Radio Tulsa: “Report: Immigrants Have Big Economic Impact on Tulsa”