BOWLING GREEN, KY – Immigrants in Warren County contributed $564.3 million to the county’s GDP in 2016 and paid $43 million in federal taxes and $21.1 million in state and local taxes, according to a new research brief by New American Economy (NAE), in partnership with the City of Bowling Green, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, and the South Central Workforce Development Board. The report was launched today at a joint press conference hosted by the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to their financial contributions, the report shows the role immigrants play in the local labor force and as contributors to the county’s recent growth in population. Though they account for 9.3 percent of the county’s population, immigrants represent 10.7 percent of the county’s working-age population and 10.3 percent of the employed labor force. The report also shows that immigrants were responsible for nearly a third of total population growth in Warren County from 2011 to 2016.
“Bowling Green is blessed with a diverse international business and citizen community contributing to our success as the fastest growing city in the state,” said Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. “In our region we have over 55 major international businesses and over 50 languages spoken in our schools, which provides a competitive advantage for economic development.”
“We were aware that our City and County were going through a demographic shift, but we did not have the data until now to help us understand its impact,” added Jeff Meisel, Bowling Green City Manager. “This research will serve as a valuable tool as our City continues to serve an ever-growing and diverse population that lives, works, and plays in Bowling Green-Warren County.”
“Immigration fuels economic growth, and that’s certainly the case in a growing Warren County,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “As newcomers help keep the tax base strong and local companies in business, Warren County’s willingness to welcome immigrants is proving a smart investment.”
The brief, New Americans in Warren County, finds:
- Immigrants contributed $564.3 million to Warren County’s GDP in 2016. Immigrant households earned $234.7 million in income in 2016.
- Immigrants contributed over $64 million in total taxes in 2016, of which $43.0 million went to federal taxes and $21.1 million went to state and local taxes. Immigrant households were left with $170.6 million in spending power.
- Immigrants were responsible for 32.2 percent of the total population growth in Warren County between 2011 and 2016. Over those 5 years, the population in the county increased by 15.4 percent, while the immigrant population increased by 86.6 percent.
- Despite making up just 9.3 percent of the overall population, immigrants represented more than their share of the working-age population and the employed labor force in 2016. Foreign-born workers represented 10.7 percent of Warren County’s working-page population and 10.3 percent of its employed labor force that year.
- Immigrants play a critical role in several key industries in the county, making up significant shares of key industries in 2016. Foreign-born workers made up 23.7 percent of all workers in manufacturing, as well as 20.8 percent of the transportation and warehouse industry and 7.8 percent of the education industry.
- Over one-third of immigrants and refugees in the county—or over 3,700 individuals— were naturalized citizens in 2016. 18.8 percent of the non-citizen population were likely eligible to naturalize.
Warren County 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 to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants, or matching grants.