New research from New American Economy shows that immigrants accounted for 47.1 percent of total population growth in Cedar Rapids between 2012 and 2017. The report, New Americans in Cedar Rapids, was prepared in partnership with the City of Cedar Rapids and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.
In addition to their financial contributions, which included paying $53.9 million to federal taxes and $26.1 million to state and local taxes in 2017, immigrants supported critical social programs, paying $34.5 million to Social Security and $9.2 million to Medicare. In 2017 immigrants were left with $225.6 million in spending power, allowing them to boost the Cedar Rapids economy as consumers.
Key findings include:
- Immigrants are contributing to population growth. Between 2012 and 2017, the total county population increased by 61.8 percent. 47.1 percent of the total population growth in the county was attributable to immigrants.
- Immigrants help fill workforce gaps. Despite making up 4.4 percent of the total population, immigrants made up triple that share of workers in science, technology, and math (STEM), and represented an outsize share of workers in industries such as manufacturing (8.7 percent) and hospitality (8.2 percent).
- Immigrants are creating jobs. In 2017, immigrants represented an outsized 7.1 percent of the county’s business owners and were 45.2% more likely to be entrepreneurs than their U.S-born counterparts. As a result of immigration to the region, 440 manufacturing jobs were preserved — jobs that would have disappeared or moved elsewhere had it not been for immigrants.