New research from New American Economy underscores the critical role immigrants in Contra Costa County play in the community’s population growth, business creation, and STEM innovation. The new report, New Americans in Contra Costa County, was prepared in partnership with Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Departments and Contra Costa Health Services.
- Immigration is driving population growth in Contra Costa County. Immigrants account for 47.4 percent of the population growth in Contra Costa between 2015 and 2019. Over that time period, Contra Costa’s total population grew by 3.8 percent and its immigrant population grew by 7.3 percent. As of 2019, immigrants made up 25.6 percent of the total population.
- Immigrants’ spending power has helped revitalize local businesses. Immigrants punch above their weight when it comes to their power as consumers. In 2019, they held close to $11.2 billion in disposable income, or 28.5 percent of the county’s total spending power. Robust consumer spending by immigrants supports small businesses and keeps local economic corridors vibrant.
- Immigrants are helping the county’s meet its rising labor demand in the STEM sector. Despite making up just 25.6 percent of the overall population, immigrants represented 32.1 percent of the employed labor force in Contra Costa in 2019. Immigrant residents also made up 41.2 percent of the county’s STEM workers.
- Immigrants play a particularly significant role in the county as entrepreneurs. Immigrants represented 34 percent of the entrepreneurs in the county in 2019. About 19,700 immigrant individuals worked for their own businesses, generating $674.3 million in business income. 32.2 percent of immigrant entrepreneurs owned businesses in professional services and 13.1 percent worked in health care and social assistance.
- Immigrants are bringing much-needed talent. In 2019, 18.1 percent of the immigrants held an advanced degree, compared with 17.5 percent of the U.S.-born population in Contra Costa County.
The report was produced as part of NAE’s and Welcoming America’s Gateways for Growth Challenge, which includes tailored research on the local immigrant population and technical assistance in the creation of a multi-sector strategic immigrant integration plan.
Read the full press release here.