Immigrants in Iowa, Host of Thursday’s GOP Debate

Tomorrow evening, the Republican candidates will meet in Des Moines for their final debate (#GopDebate) before next week’s Iowa caucuses. The debate, hosted by Fox News, is the last opportunity for the candidates to present their platforms before voters head to the polls.

Iowa is home to a small, but growing, immigrant population—although just 4.48 percent of the population is foreign-born, this group grew by more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2013. Before tuning in to the debate, learn about some of the ways that Iowa’s immigrant population contributes to the state’s economy.


There are almost 5,000 immigrant-owned businesses in Iowa, generating $216 million in income each year.


Between 2000 and 2010, immigrants created or preserved 1,545 manufacturing jobs in Iowa.


Immigrants play a critical role in Iowa’s healthcare industry: In 2012, 18 percent of physicians in the state had graduated from a foreign medical school.

STEM fields

In 2013, 40.6 percent of STEM graduates from Iowa’s most research-intensive schools were foreign-born. In addition, 70 percent of the engineering PhDs in the state were temporary residents (2006-2010).

Contributions to entitlement programs

In 2013, foreign-born Hispanics in Iowa contributed $135 million to Social Security and $31.5 million to Medicare.

These are just some of ways in which immigrants positively impact Iowa’s economy and society. Learn more about immigration in states across the country in our interactive map.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…