New research from New American Economy (NAE) released today in partnership with the Immigrant Welcome Center, highlights how immigrants are both essential to Indianapolis’ rapid response efforts and especially vulnerable due to gaps in our federal relief package, barriers in language access, and increased risks of infection associated with frontline and essential work.
Key findings from this report include:
- Immigrants serve in essential industries and carry out vital roles that keep Marion County functioning but put them at higher risk of infection. Despite making up just 9.2 percent of the county’s population, immigrants comprise more than 14.9 percent of all food sector workers and 13.5 percent of all transportation and warehousing workers in 2018.
- Immigrants play an important role in Marion County as job creators but are concentrated in industries that are especially vulnerable to the economic recession caused by COVID-19. Immigrants make up over 35 percent of business owners in construction and 15.2 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 30 percent of immigrants, or 26,230, living in Marion County had limited English language proficiency. Among them, the top three languages spoken at home other than English were: Spanish (69.5percent), Burmic languages: Burmese, Lisu and Lolo (13.1 percent), and Chinese (5.1 percent).
- Access to healthcare and medical services remains critical. In 2018, 111,799 Marion County residents were without insurance, 34 percent, or 29,448, of which were immigrants.
Read the full press release here.
The Immigrant Welcome Center 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 Marion County’s immigrant population and will inform the advocacy, development, and implementation of inclusive local emergency responses.