Lucas County Commissioners released a report Tuesday that gives the community more insight on the topic of immigrants resettling in the area.
The report “New Americans in Toledo: A Snapshot of the Demographic and Economic Contributions of Immigrants” was compiled by Partnership for a New American Economy and features data on: population trends, education and entrepreneurship rates, spending power, and local and state contribution rates of new American community members. It shows that more and more foreign-born people are coming to the area and with them, bringing jobs, investment and education. It comes at a time where immigration is being politically debated nationwide.
From 2000 to 2014, Toledo’s US-born population dropped by more than 12 percent, but it’s foreign-born population increased by more than 14 percent – offsetting some of the population decline.
The study shows that nearly 32 percent of immigrants in Toledo hold at least a bachelor’s degree. It also shows that foreign-born residents hold close to $242 million in spending power and contribute more than $31 million in state and local taxes.
But it’s not just the numbers on the report, local business owners and professors can speak from a personal and professional standpoint about the impact immigrants have on the local community.
“It’s really the great American system that allows anyone to prosper and achieve the American dream. So had I gone somewhere else, I probably would not have achieved half of what I achieved in America,” said Dan Ridi.
Ridi left West Bank in the Mediterranean 25 years ago. He says he grew up in a small town and because of the opportunities in the US, he started his own business and is now the owner of two business franchises – In and Out and Stop and Go.
“Hard work does pay off. Average Americans are hard-working people, but immigrants they really have no going back to rely on, so they have to make it in life, so they really have to work double, they do what they can to succeed in life,” said Ridi.
It’s success like Ridi’s, combined with the report that Commissioner Pete Gerken says is just a part of what’s to come moving forward.
“Here in Lucas County, myself and my commissioners are going to do what’s right for Lucas County. Washington they can play. We know what’s good for us and this report validates that,” said Gerken. “This is a trend that we need to continue, not stop.”