New research from New American Economy (NAE), released in partnership with the City of Minneapolis, highlights how immigrants are both essential to the city’s rapid response efforts and especially vulnerable due to gaps in our federal relief packages, language access barriers, 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 Minneapolis functioning but put them at higher risk of infection. Despite making up 15.4 percent of the city’s residents in 2018, immigrants comprised more than 20.2 percent of all food sector workers and 16.5 percent of all healthcare workers in Minneapolis.
- The COVID-19 economic upheaval has highlighted the need for stable housing in Minneapolis for all residents regardless of immigration status. Among the city’s immigrant households in 2018, just 25 percent, or 7,332, owned their own homes and 75 percent, or 21,980, were renters.
- Culturally sensitive and language accessible emergency materials are in demand. In 2018, over 29 percent of immigrants, or 19,053, living in Minneapolis had limited English language proficiency. Among them, the top three languages spoken at home other than English were: Spanish (44.2 percent) Somali, Oromo, Beja and other Cushitic languages (34.3 percent) and Hmong (10.1 percent).
- Access to healthcare and medical services remains critical for all Minneapolis residents during this pandemic. In 2018, 28,144 Minneapolis residents were without insurance, over 42 percent of which were immigrants.
Minneapolis is one of twelve communities that received NAE research to inform culturally sensitive emergency response measures that ensure all residents are included, regardless of immigration status. Their customized research report highlights the demographic nuances of each city’s immigrant population and will inform the advocacy, development, and implementation of inclusive local emergency responses.