New Americans in Dane County

A new report from New American Economy shows that immigrants in Dane County, WI contributed $3.4 billion to the county’s GDP in 2016 and paid $249 million in federal taxes and $124 million in state and local taxes. The report, New Americans in Dane County, was prepared in partnership with Jewish Social Services of Madison, the City of Madison, and the Latino Chamber of Commerce. 

Gateways for Growth: New Americans in Dane County
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In addition to their financial contributions, the report shows the foreign-born population’s role as contributors to the workforce in Dane County, and as drivers of population growth. Although the foreign-born made up 8.7 percent of the county’s overall population in 2016, they represented 10.7 percent of its working-age population (ages 16-64), 10.0 percent of its employed labor force, and 17.1 percent of its STEM workers. Immigrants were also responsible for a quarter of population growth in the county between 2011 and 2016.

New Americans in Dane County also includes profiles on four Dane County-area immigrants: Samba BaldehSaif Al Saedi, Pepe Barros, and Luis and Lupita Montoto.

The brief also finds:

  • Immigrants contributed $3.4 billion to Dane County’s GDP in 2016. Immigrant households earned $1.4 billion in income in 2016 and held $1 billion in spending power.
  • Given their income, immigrants contributed significantly to federal, state, and local taxes. Immigrants paid $248.9 million in federal taxes and $124.1 million in state and local taxes in 2016.
  • Immigrants were responsible for 25.8 percent of population growth in Dane County between 2011 and 2016. Over those five years, the total population increased by 7.0 percent, while the immigrant population increased by 24.2 percent.
  • Despite making up just 8.7 percent of the overall population in the county, immigrants played an outsize role in the labor force in 2016. Foreign-born workers represented 10.7 percent of the working-age population, 0 percent of its employed labor force, and 17.1 percent of all workers in in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields in Dane County.
  • Immigrants in Dane County were more likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to have an advanced degree in 2016. 9 percent of immigrants had an advanced degree in 2016, compared to 30.9 percent of the U.S.-born.
  • Immigrants play an outsize role in several key industries in the county. Though they are 8.7 percent of the population, foreign-born workers made up 16.7 percent of all workers in the manufacturing industry and 15.8 percent of workers in the education industry.
  • More than one third—37.5 percent— of immigrants and refugees in Dane County were naturalized citizens in 2016.

Read the full research brief here.

Dane County is one of 25 communities selected for Round II of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity from New American Economy and Welcoming America where local communities receive tailored research on the contributions of immigrants, direct technical assistance to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants, or matching grants.

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