New research released to help Inform Immigrant-inclusive COVID-19 Relief Measures in Denver

New research from New American Economy shows that despite making up just 15.7 percent of Denver’s population, immigrants make up over 23 percent of all Transportation and Warehousing workers and 23.5 percent of all Food Sector workers in the City and County.

Denver, CO– New research from New American Economy (NAE) released today in partnership with the City and County of Denver highlights how immigrants are both essential to Denver’s rapid response efforts and especially vulnerable due to gaps in federal relief packages, language access barriers, and increased risks of infection associated with frontline and essential work. 

Denver is one of twelve recipients of NAE research to inform culturally sensitive emergency response measures that ensure all residents are included, regardless of immigration status. This customized research report highlights the demographic nuances of Denver’s immigrant population and will inform the advocacy, development, and implementation of inclusive local emergency responses.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Immigrants serve in essential industries and carry out vital roles that keep Denver functioning but put them at higher risk of infection. Despite making up just 15.7 percent of the city’s residents in 2018, immigrants comprise over 23 percent of all Transportation and Warehousing workers and 23.5 percent of all Food Sector workers in Denver.
  • Immigrants play an important role in Denver as job creators but are concentrated in industries that are especially vulnerable to the economic recession caused by COVID-19. Immigrants make up over 34 percent of business owners in Construction and 20.5 percent of business owners in General Services, which includes personal services like laundry, barber, and repair shops.
  • Culturally sensitive and language accessible emergency materials are in demand. In 2018, over 32 percent of immigrants, or 35,348 people, living in Denver had limited English language proficiency. 
  • Access to healthcare and medical services remains critical for all Denver residents during this pandemic. In 2018, 75,548 Denver residents were without health insurance, over 44 percent of which were immigrants.

“Denver’s immigrant and refugee residents are important and critical members of our community,” stated Atim Otii, Director of Denver’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “I am grateful to NAE for their support to create this data resource for the city and community partners to better inform services and resources for immigrants and refugees during this pandemic.”

“The immigrant population is essential to keeping Denver running, yet especially vulnerable to gaps in our social safety nets,” said Mo Kantner, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “This new NAE research will support efforts by Denver to work quickly and innovatively to fill critical gaps in federal programs and ensure that response and recovery efforts reach all residents.”

Read the full research report here.

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. 

Visit to learn 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…