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New Americans in Greater Indianapolis Contributed $9.2 Billion to GDP in 2014, New Study Shows

Report released on national day of action calling on Congress to act now on immigration, starting with Dreamers

Indianapolis, IN – Today, New American Economy released a research brief in partnership with the Immigrant Welcome Center documenting the economic impact of immigrants in the Indianapolis metro area. Accounting for just 6.3 percent of the overall population, immigrants were responsible for nearly a quarter of overall population growth in the region between 2009 and 2014, and held $2.3 billion in spending power in 2014 alone.

The brief is being released conjunction with the launch of a national campaign to fix our immigration system, beginning with a solution for DREAMers—iMarch for Immigration. As part of the campaign, today the Immigrant Welcome Center and the City of Indianapolis join leaders across industries for online and offline events in all 50 states.

The event will also serve as the launch of a new strategic plan for the city, “Indianapolis Immigrant Integration Plan: Becoming a Welcoming City to All Residents.” The Immigrant Welcome Center engaged over 60 local organizations in the process of developing the plan, which issues specific recommendations on how to make Indianapolis more welcoming and accessible to all community members.

“Take a look at regions across the country that are welcoming and inclusive, and you’ll see communities with a thriving economy,” notes Mark Fisher, Chief Policy Officer at the Indy Chamber. “Immigrants play an important role in our regional workforce in all major industry sectors. The Indy Chamber is committed to the advancement of our immigrant population, and supports strategies to address barriers for our neighbors and friends in attaining the American dream.”

“The Immigrant Welcome Center believes that the Immigrant Integration Plan will improve the outcomes for thousands of new Americans in Indianapolis who deserve more – and more user-friendly – supports as they navigate language and cultural barriers that slow the integration process,” said Terri Downs, Executive Director of the Immigrant Welcome Center. “This plan is a natural extension of Indy Welcomes All, and we’re excited to work with our city’s leadership and residents to make Indy an inclusive and culturally-sensitive city to newcomers from all over the world.”

Indianapolis has been enriched by the diversity of our residents, as we are a community where all voices are both heard and welcomed,” said Jordan Rodriguez, director of Latino and Cultural Affairs for the City ofIndianapolis. “The benefits of welcoming all to Indianapolis are clear, and I am proud to continue working to uplift our immigrant neighbors who have chosen to call this city home.”

“Steady immigration continues to boost growth in the heartland and metroIndianapolis, especially,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “Immigrants are earning degrees, starting their own businesses, and helping power the local workforce – producing broad economic benefits fornewcomers and longtime residents alike.”

“My father was a migrant worker and he brought our family here in the 50s. He saw the opportunity with the immigrant community and challenged me to start this company to build better futures for those underserved,” said Tom Morales, CEO of the Morales Group. “This report underscores the true value and contribution of immigrants to the Indianapolis area.”

The brief, New Americans in Indianapolis, finds:

  • Immigrants contributed $9.2 billion to the GDP of Greater Indianapolis in 2014. They also paid $522 million in federal taxes and $290 million in state and local taxes, and held more than $2.3 in spending power.
  • Growth in the foreign-born population accounted for 24 percent of overall population growth between 2009 and 2014.
  • Due to an increase in foreign-born residents, total housing values in the metro area increased by $6.6 billion between 2000 and 2014.
  • There were 7,241 immigrant entrepreneurs in the Greater Indianapolisarea in 2014, and together, they earned $136 million in business income that year.
  • Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce, helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants living in Greater Indianapolis in 2014 helped create or preserve 5,740 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.
  • Immigrants play an outsize role in Greater Indianapolis’ key industries, accounting for over 15 percent of workers in the recreation and accommodation industry, 14 percent of construction workers, and 11 percent of manufacturing workers.
  • In the fall of 2014, 2,815 students enrolled in colleges and universities in the metro area were international students, and together they supported 1,103 local jobs.

Read the full research brief here.

Learn more about iMarch for Immigration here.

Indianapolis is one of 44 communities selected for the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive tailored research on the contributions of immigrants, direct technical assistance, and matching grants from New American Economy and Welcoming America to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants.

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