New research from New American Economy (NAE), released in partnership with the City of St. Paul 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 the report include:
- Immigrants serve in essential industries and carry out vital roles that keep St.Paul functioning but put them at higher risk of infection. Despite making up 19.4 percent of city’s residents in 2018, immigrants comprise more than 32.5 percent of all food sector workers and 28.7 percent of all transportation and warehousing workers in St.Paul.
- The COVID-19 economic upheaval has highlighted the need for stable housing in St.Paul for all residents regardless of immigration status. Among the city’s immigrant households in 2018, just 31.5 percent, or 6,800, owned their own homes and 68.5 percent, or 14,757, were renters.
- Culturally sensitive and language accessible emergency materials are in demand. In 2018, 33 percent of immigrants, or 19,386 residents living in St.Paul, had limited English language proficiency. Among them, the top five languages spoken at home other than English were: Hmong (26.1 percent), Spanish (22.7 percent), Karen (20.1 percent), Somali, Oromo, Beja and other Cushitic languages (8.0 percent) and Vietnamese (3.8 percent).
- Access to healthcare and medical services remains critical for all St.Paul residents during this pandemic. In 2018, 20,902 St.Paul residents were without insurance, 42 percent of which were immigrants.
The City of St.Paul 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. St.Paul’s customized research report highlights the demographic nuances of the city’s immigrant population and will inform the advocacy, development, and implementation of inclusive local emergency responses.