New Americans in Southwest Kansas and Ford County
Date: March 2, 2022
In January 2022, NAE merged with the American Immigration Council to combine a broad suite of advocacy tools to better expand and protect the rights of immigrants, more fully ensure immigrants’ ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming.
New research from New American Economy shows that immigrants in Southwest Kansas paid over $192 million in taxes and held more than $595 million in spending power in 2019. The new report, New Americans in Southwest Kansas and Ford County, was prepared in partnership with Dodge City and Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas.
The report also features profiles of two Southwest Kansas residents: Jesus Carlos Rivera and Ehlam Abdalla.
- Immigrants are helping the region meet its labor force demands. Immigrants made up 21.7 percent of the region’s population but accounted for 30.2 percent of its employed labor force.
- Immigrant households support the federal safety net. The foreign-born contributed $90.7 million to Social Security and $22.2 million to Medicare in 2019.
- Immigrants are helping Southwest Kansas meet its rising labor in key industries. While making up 21.7 percent of the region’s overall population, immigrants accounted for 67.9 percent of food manufacturing workers, 18.3 percent of food service workers, 18.1 percent of essential services workers, and 15.9 percent of healthcare workers — all critical industries that have been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Immigrants play a significant role in the region’s entrepreneurs. Immigrants represented 21.6 percent of business owners in Southwest Kansas in 2019. About 1,800 immigrant entrepreneurs generated $63.7 million in business income for the region.
- Immigrants in Southwest Kansas help create or preserve local manufacturing jobs. Immigrants strengthened the local job market by allowing companies to keep jobs on U.S. soil, helping preserve or create 1,400 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere by 2019.
Between 2014 and 2019 the population of Southwest Kansas decreased by 2.2 percent, while the immigrant population grew by 2.8 percent. Without growth in the immigrant population, the total population in Southwest Kansas would have decreased even more, by 2.8 percent. In 2019 alone, immigrants in the region held $595.4 million in spending power, and paid $112.8 million in federal taxes and $79.6 million in state and local taxes. Despite making up 21.7 percent of the region’s overall population, immigrants represent 60.6 percent of manufacturing workers, 37.5 percent of construction workers, and 37 percent of transportation and warehousing workers.
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.
Read the full press release here.