San Diego County’s foreign-born population boosts the region’s economy, according to a new data analysis released Friday.
The report from the national nonprofit New American Economy found immigrants in the region represent more than a quarter of the region’s total spending power and are more likely to launch businesses that native-born residents.
The assessment, presented at a local summit on immigrant integration, showed immigrants comprised 24 percent of the county’s population, but represented nearly 28 percent of purchasing power in 2016 and made up just over 32 percent of the region’s entrepreneurs.
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Sanders, who delivered opening remarks at the Welcoming San Diego event, said supporting immigrant workers would drive more innovation and attract more investment in the San Diego economy.
“The chamber understands the importance of immigrants,” said Sanders, a former Republican San Diego mayor.
Kate Brick, New American Economy Director of State and Local initiatives, said the report also revealed that immigrants are slightly overrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, jobs. Brick said this helps fill a national and state shortage.
“When we don’t have the workforce we need, we can’t grow as an economy,” Brick said. “Here in San Diego, 30 percent of all STEM workers are foreign-born, so they play a really important role in driving innovation and driving growth in the local economy.”
Read the full story from KPBS: “Report Finds San Diego’s Immigrant Community Tied To Region’s Economic Prosperity”