The Foreign-Born in Des Moines

New American Economy has developed a series of research briefs that examine the demographic and economic contributions of immigrant communities in counties and cities across the United States. The latest report in the series focuses on Des Moines. The brief shows that 48,760 immigrant residents in Des Moines–who account for roughly 8 percent of the area’s population–positively impact the local economy through their high rates of workforce participation, large tax contributions, and spending power.

The report, “The Foreign-Born in Des Moines” finds that in 2014:

  • Immigrants in Des Moines contributed roughly $3.2 billion to the metro area’s GDP in 2014.
  • The foreign-born population of metro Des Moines contributed more than $100 million in state and local taxes including property, income, sales, and excise taxes levied by either the State of Iowa or by municipal governments in 2014.
  • By 2020, Iowa will need to fill 61,500 STEM jobs. While the foreign-born make up 8% of the overall population of the Des Moines metro area, they make up 10% of all STEM workers. 
  • 64.2 percent of the foreign-born in the Des Moines metro area have at least a high school degree, and 20.8 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree.

This report is released as part of 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.

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