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Detroit’s Immigrant-Owned Businesses Generated $15.5 Million in Business Income, New Report Shows

Between 2000-2014, Over 4,000 New Immigrants Helped Stem Detroit’s Population Decline

DETROIT, Michigan – Today, Global Detroit and New American Economy released a report documenting the rapid population growth and economic impact of immigrants in Detroit. While recent Census reports show continued population loss for the city, today’s data highlights that immigrants, who have added over 4,000 new residents to the city between 2010 and 2014 (a 12.1 percent rate of growth), are helping the city to stop its population decline.

The newly-released data snapshot notes that while immigrant residents account for only 5.6 percent of the city’s residents, they make an outsize contribution to the local economy through their high rates of entrepreneurship, large tax contributions, and spending power.

“The data released today affirms the work that Global Detroit, as well as that of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the Detroit City Council, and others, have done to develop programs, policies, and strategies that pioneer the inclusion of immigrants in Detroit’s neighborhoods and recovery,” notes Steve Tobocman, Executive Director of Global Detroit. “Detroit is an early pioneer in the rapidly emerging field of immigrant community and economic development and the data released today suggests that our efforts are paying dividends in population growth, business creation, and jobs.”

“We are very excited to see the report released, highlighting the tremendous contributions immigrants have made throughout the City’s history that continue into today,” said Detroit Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López. “As we move forward, it is important to recognize the contributions that our immigrant communities have made to employing Detroiters, doing business in the City and building our neighborhoods.”

“The City of Detroit is proud to be a welcoming City, where immigrants from all countries are embraced,” noted Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “This study highlights the positive impact immigrants are having on our City and why it’s important we continue our work.”

“Immigrants are helping power Detroit’s economic recovery,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “As immigrants boost their new neighborhoods and the housing market, they’re also bolstering the construction, manufacturing, and tech sectors that are attracting investment and creating jobs across metro Detroit.”

The report, New Americans in Detroit, finds:

  • In 2014, immigrant-owned businesses in Detroit generated $15.5 million in business income. There are 1,397 immigrants who are self-employed in Detroit, representing 14.8 percent of self-employed population, more than twice their share of the population.
  • Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants living in Detroit in 2014 helped create or preserve 1,768 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.
  • In 2014, immigrants in Detroit paid $92.4 million in federal taxes, and $53.7 million in state and local taxes. They also held $489.8million in remaining spending power.
  • Foreign-born residents of Detroit also support federal social programs, and in 2014, they contributed more than $67.2 million to Social Security and almost $17.6 million to Medicare.
  • Foreign-born residents tend to have slightly higher educational levels than U.S.-born citizens in Detroit. If the metro area retains one-half of its international students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees or higher, 549 local jobs will be created within six years, and increasing its population by 6,157 people within the next 50 years.

Read the full report here.

In conjunction with the report, Mr. Tobacman penned a column, “Immigrants Revitalize Detroit,” in The Detroit News. Read the column here.
Detroit is one of 20 communities selected in the Gateways for Growth Challenge, an opportunity from NAE and Welcoming America that invited communities across the United States to apply for support for the development and implementation of multi-sector strategic plans for welcoming and integrating new Americans.

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…