Foreign-Born Residents Contributed $3.1 Billion to Michiana Region’s GDP in 2016

Immigrants paid over $315 million in total taxes, held over $880 million in spending power

SOUTH BEND, IN – Immigrants in the Michiana region contributed $3.1 billion to the region’s GDP, and paid $212.8 million in federal taxes and $103 million in state and local taxes, according to a new research brief released by New American Economy (NAE) in partnership with United Religious Community, South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, and the City of South Bend. The report was released at a series of community forums hosted at Aunalytic, a local immigrant-owned data science software company, and Indiana University-South Bend.

The report details the significant role the foreign-born population in the Michiana region plays in labor force growth and new business creation, as well as their high levels of education. In 2016, 29 percent of the immigrants ages 25 and up held at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 23.5 percent of the U.S.-born population in the region.

“South Bend’s history can be understood as a story of immigration, from before our incorporation to the rich diversity of backgrounds today,” said Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. “We’re proud of our strong immigrant community members and their contributions to our economy and social fabric. This report from New American Economy outlines these contributions and testifies to the importance of supporting our immigrant communities.”

“The United Religious Community is involved in this work because it’s the confluence of being the right thing to do and the smart thing to do,” said John Pinter, Executive Director, United Religious Community. “Immigrants, who may come from a variety of faith traditions, add to the growth of the South Bend Region when their talents are valued and our established community knows how to best help them become New Americans.”

“Immigration is driving economic growth in Michiana and across the heartland,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “As more immigrants put down roots in Michiana, they’ll help grow the tax base, strengthen the workforce, and attract even greater business investment to the region.”

“In addition to helping build vibrant and culturally diverse communities, immigrants are a major contributor to the economic success of the South Bend-Elkhart Region, contributing over three billion dollars annually to our GDP,” said Regina Emberton, President of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “While we continue to be challenged by domestic outmigration, international migration is positive and contributes to an increase in population and number of workers, helping preserve local jobs that may have otherwise moved to other communities. One of the Regional Partnership’s key strategies is to retain and support the 45,000+ existing immigrants in our region, and attract new immigrants by encouraging an ecosystem that enables full participation in the social, civic and economic opportunities throughout our 47 smart connected communities.”

“We are excited to be able to show, with data, the valuable economic impact that immigrants have made, and will continue to make in the South Bend Region,” said Sam Centellas, Executive Director, La Casa de Amistad. “It is important that we are able to have conversations about immigration and the economy using facts that shows the integral role and place immigrants have in our community.”

The brief, New Americans in Michiana, finds:

  • Immigrants contributed $3.1 billion to the Michiana region’s GDP in 2016. Foreign-born households earned $1.2 billion in income in 2016. Of that, $212.8 million went to federal taxes and $103 million went to state and local taxes, leaving them with $880.3 million in spending power—6.9 percent of all spending power in the region.
  • Immigrant households support federal social programs. The foreign-born contributed $119.3 million to Social Security and $33.8 million to Medicare in 2016.
  • Immigrants in the Michiana region area help create or preserve local manufacturing jobs. Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants in the regions helped create or preserve approximately 2,095 jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.
  • Despite making up just 6.3 percent of the overall population, immigrants represented 7.9 percent of the employed labor force in Michiana in 2016. Foreign-born residents also made up 9.3 percent of the regions STEM workers.
  • Immigrants represented 8.6 percent of the entrepreneurs in the region in 2016. About 2,168 foreign-born individuals worked for their own businesses, generating $48.9 million in business income.
  • In 2016, 29 percent of the immigrants ages 25 and up held at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 23.5 percent of the U.S.-born population in the Michiana region. About 14.5 percent of the immigrants held an advanced degree, compared with 8.6 percent of the U.S.-born population in the region.

Read the full research brief here.

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

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…