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Immigrants in Kansas City Metro Area Contribute $8.6 Billion to Local GDP and Hold $3 Billion in Spending Power

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

NEW YORK, NY – Immigrants contributed over $8 billion to the Kansas City metro area GDP in 2015, according to a new research brief released by New American Economy in partnership with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The report, which shows that immigrants in Kansas City are more likely to be working age and are overrepresented in key industries like Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and healthcare, is being released in conjunction with the launch of a national campaign to fix our immigration system, starting with Dreamers—iMarch for Immigration.

As part of the campaign, today the Greater Kansas City Chamber will join leaders across industries for online and offline events in all 50 states calling on Congress to take action protecting Dreamers as a first step to addressing the longstanding economic hurdles that reside within our outdated immigration system. The Chamber is hosting a business roundtable, Harnessing a Global Workforce: KC Business Roundtable on the Dream Act and Other Policy Opportunities with civic, business, education, and government leaders to discuss the economic imperative for a solution for Dreamers.

The research brief focuses on the critical economic impact immigrants make in the Kansas City metro area, highlighting immigrant participation in the local workforce, their contributions to the tax base, and the role they play in the preservation and creation of American jobs.

“The report we’re releasing today clearly shows the importance of Dreamers and immigrants to our local—and national—economies,” says Joe Reardon, President & CEO of the KC Chamber. “The Chamber has called on our two-state Congressional delegation to take action and take care of the 800,000 Dreamers now facing an uncertain future. Congress must find a solution.”

“As we gear up for national action on our broken immigration system, it’s important to highlight the critical role immigrants play in our cities and towns,” saidJohn Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “Across the nation—as you can see through this data from Kansas City—immigrants are enhancing the American economy.”

The brief, Immigrants as Economic Drivers in the Kansas City Metro Area in 2015, finds:

  • Immigrant households earned $3.7 billion in 2015. $629.8 million went to federal taxes and $309.3 million went to state and local taxes, leaving the foreign-born population in the Kansas City metro area with $3 billion in spending power.
  • There were 7,085 immigrant entrepreneurs in the Kansas City metro area in 2015. While 6.5 percent of the population, immigrants represented 8.4 percent of all entrepreneurs.
  • Immigrants are overrepresented in STEM and healthcare fields. 11.3 percent of foreign-born workers in the metro area work in a STEM field, compared to 7.3 percent of the local U.S.-born. And while they are 6.5 percent of the population, foreign-born workers represent 8.2 percent of healthcare professionals.
  • Immigrants helped create or preserved 6,294 manufacturing jobs.Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce, helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants living in the Kansas City metro area helped create or preserve 6,294 local manufacturing jobs in 2015 that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.

Read the full research brief here.

Learn more about iMarch for Immigration here.

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