New Data: Wayne County Immigrants Contributed More Than $10.5B to GDP

Report shows immigrants spend billions, preserve jobs and comprise 1/5 of STEM workers

Detroit, MI – Immigrants contributed more than $10.5 billion to Wayne County’s GDP in 2017, according to new research from New American Economy (NAE) in partnership with the Office of the Wayne County Executive and Wayne United. In addition to their financial contributions, including $430.5 million to Social Security and $110.6 million to Medicare in 2017, the report highlights how immigrants helped to offset population losses in Wayne County. 

“When you look at the numbers, the economic case for inclusion and welcoming immigrants is irrefutable – Wayne County continues to benefit from its diversity dividend,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “As we try to build a more prosperous county and future, we need to help raise awareness about the key roles immigrants play in across economic sectors and in our communities.”

The report was released today by Wayne County at the Hamtramck Historical Museum. The report shows the significant contributions immigrants are making across key industries that are vital to Wayne County’s economy. As of 2018, approximately 147,000 immigrants lived in Wayne County according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Some key statistics from the report, include:

  • Despite making up 9.4 percent of the county’s overall population, immigrants comprise more than a fifth (21.4 percent) of all science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers, 16.7 percent of transportation workers, and 15 percent of manufacturing workers. 
  • After taxes, immigrants in the county have a spending power of $3.2 billion.
  • As a result of immigration to the county, 7,564 manufacturing jobs were preserved –jobs that would have disappeared or moved elsewhere had it not been for immigrants.
  • Immigrants also represented an outsized 16.3 percent of the county’s business owners and entrepreneurs.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, the total county population fell by 2.2 percent. Without growth in the immigrant population, the decline in the county’s population would have been even greater, falling by 3.9 percent.

Read the full research brief here.

Today’s event sets the stage for the 12th annual National Immigrant Integration Conference taking place October 20-22 in Detroit. Hosted by the National Partnership for New Americans, the convening brings together policymakers, academics, corporate and community leaders, researchers and practitioners, faith and labor leaders and funders from across the country to discuss immigrant integration. Wayne County Executive Evans will be a speaker at the breakfast plenary on “New American Dreams” on Monday, October 21.

“The more we embrace immigrant integration the better we’ll be to reaching our full potential as a county, state and country,” Evans said. “I’m looking forward to bringing Wayne County’s diversity story to this national stage.”

“Wayne County immigrants are playing a crucial role in boosting the population, contributing to the local economy, and building a diverse and successful workforce,” said Kate Brick, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “If Wayne County continues its work to support its immigrant population, all members of the community stand to gain.”

The research is a product of NAE and Welcoming American selecting Wayne United as a recipient of one of 12 Gateways for Growth Challenge Research Awards granted across the country this year. Read the full research brief here (LINK).

Wayne County/Wayne United

Wayne County is home to approximately 1.7 million making it the most populous county in Michigan and the 19th most populous county in the United States. Anchored by the city of Detroit, Wayne County is made up of 43 distinct and diverse communities that offer something for everyone. Wayne United is an initiative launched by Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans to partner with community, civic and business leaders to promote diversity and inclusion.

About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways: 1) we use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy, 2) we organize champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration, 3) we partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants add locally, and 4) we show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art, sports, comedy, and more.

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…