New Report Shows Immigrants and Refugees in the Minneapolis Area Paid Over $443 Million in Taxes and Held $1.2 Billion in Spending Power in 2019

Immigrants and refugees in the Minneapolis area make up 13.2 percent of business owners and 13.4 percent of STEM workers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A new report released today by New American Economy (NAE), in partnership with the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and the City of Minneapolis’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, underscores the critical role immigrants and refugees in Minneapolis play in driving the region’s population growth, consumer spending power, and labor force.

Between 2014 and 2019 the Minneapolis population grew by 6.3 percent, with the immigrant and refugee population growing by 2.4 percent. Immigrants and refugees accounted for 5.9 percent of the total population growth in the region. In 2019 alone, immigrants and refugees in the Minneapolis area held $1.2 billion in spending power, and paid over $284 million in federal taxes and $159 million in state and local taxes. Despite making up 14.9 percent of the area’s overall population, immigrants and refugees represent 28.7 percent of construction workers, 25.5 percent of transportation and warehousing workers, and 20.4 percent of health care and social assistance workers.  

The new report was awarded to Minneapolis as part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and/or technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities. The Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Minneapolis’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, and New American Economy presented the new report at a Minneapolis City Council meeting in recognition of Immigrant Heritage Month and World Refugee Day, informing city leaders to ensure that Minneapolis welcomes and harnesses the potential of all its residents.

This report will be leveraged in the region’s efforts to draft a multi-sector immigrant inclusion strategy. Following the launch of the report, the chamber and city will be hosting a series of focus groups to garner community feedback on how to make the community more welcoming and supportive for immigrant, refugee and marginalized communities.

“This report makes it clear what many of us already knew – immigration is a cornerstone of Minneapolis’ economic competitiveness,” said Jonathan Weinhagen, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber. “Many of our region’s small businesses are immigrant-owned, bringing vibrancy, good jobs, and economic growth to our communities. The Minneapolis Regional Chamber looks forward to using this data in continued partnership with the City of Minneapolis and Gateways for Growth to inform a multi-sector strategic plan that builds towards a Minneapolis that is welcoming for everyone.”

“Minneapolis’ immigrant and refugee communities continue to be an irreplaceable driving force behind our economic competitiveness, and this report further underscores that fact,” said Jacob Frey, Mayor of Minneapolis. “The findings also make clear that our ability to rebuild and reinvigorate our economy will depend on our collective ability to live up to our values and welcome new Americans to Minneapolis. Our work to be a more inclusive community is ongoing, and we are committed to doing more to advance new immigrant and refugee inclusion strategies like helping more residents obtain U.S. Citizenship.”

“As we see the Minneapolis region continue to grow, the need for workers in industries like STEM and manufacturing will continue to increase,” said Mo Kantner, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “By welcoming foreign-born residents with a unique range of skills, the region is making an important investment in its future.”

“Minneapolis’ efforts to combine data with a strategic plan demonstrate its commitment to taking a comprehensive, community-driven approach to immigrant inclusion,” said Christina Pope, Senior Network Director at Welcoming America. “By harnessing the full talents and potential of immigrant residents, the entire community of Minneapolis benefits.” 

The new research report, New Americans in Minneapolis finds:

  • Immigrants and refugees are helping Minneapolis meet its labor force demands. As of 2019, immigrants and refugees made up 14.9 percent of the area’s overall population, represented 17.4 percent of its working-age population, and 15.8 percent of its employed labor force.
  • Immigrants and refugees are helping the region meet its rising labor in STEM and key industries. Immigrants and refugees accounted for 13.4 percent of the region’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers, over 25 percent of transportation and warehousing workers, 19 percent of manufacturing workers, and 20 percent of healthcare workers — all critical industries that have been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Immigrants play a particularly significant role in the region’s entrepreneurs. Immigrants represented 13.2 percent of the entrepreneurs in Minneapolis in 2019. About 2,700 immigrants worked for their own businesses, generating $37.6 million in business income.
  • Immigrants in Minneapolis help create or preserve local manufacturing jobs. Immigrants strengthened the local job market by allowing companies to keep jobs on U.S. soil, helping preserve or create 2,900 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere by 2019.

Read the full research brief here.

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…