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.
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 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.