New Americans in St. Paul

A new report by New American Economy (NAE), with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, found that immigrants in St. Paul earned $941.2 million in annual income in 2015 and paid more than $132 million in federal taxes and $90 million in state and local taxes, helping stimulate the local economy. It also found that more than half—51.5 percent—of all immigrants and refugees have are naturalized citizens, slightly higher than the national naturalization rate of 48.7 percent.

In addition to their financial contributions, the new report, New Americans in St. Paul, details the important role immigrants play in the St. Paul labor force, as drivers of population growth, and as entrepreneurs. The report found that 47.2 percent of population growth between 2010 and 2015 came from immigrants, who now represent 18.2 percent of the city’s population. When compared to the U.S.-born population, immigrants are also more than thirty percent more likely to be working age, helping to keep the city’s workforce active. While just half of the U.S.-born population is between the ages of 16 and 64, nearly two-thirds of immigrants—65 percent—fall in this age bracket. Immigrants are also driving growth in Main Street businesses, representing nearly one-third of business owners who have small, neighborhood businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, and other mom and pop shops that drive foot traffic and spending in St. Paul’s economic corridors.

The report features profiles on three St. Paul area immigrants: Abe and Aster Dalu and Yuwadee Poophakumpanart. The report also features a profile on John Barker, a local nursing home administrator.

The report, New Americans in St. Paul, finds:

  • Immigrants in St. Paul paid more than $222 million in taxes. Immigrant households earned $941.2 million in income in 2015. Of that, $132.5 million went to federal taxes and $90.1 million went to state and local taxes, leaving them with $718.6 million in spending power.
  • Immigrants drove population growth in St. Paul. Between 2010 and 2015 alone, the city’s total population grew from 282,000 to more than 295,000, an increase of nearly 5 percent. Immigrants have been integral to this growth. Almost half—or 47.2 percent—of new residents that moved to St. Paul during this period were born abroad.
  • As the population ages out of the workforce, immigrants are much more likely to be working age. In 2015, the foreign-born in St. Paul were 30.6 percent more likely to be working age than people born in the United States—65 percent compared to 49.8 percent. That share is even higher for the refugee community. Nearly 90 percent of refugees in St. Paul were working age.
  • Immigrants in St. Paul are more likely to be Main Street business owners. Of the 1,580 immigrant business owners in the city, almost 40 percent own Main Street businesses, compared to just 15 percent of U.S.-born entrepreneurs. This is compared to only 19.7 percent of immigrant business owners who had Main Street businesses in the broader Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. And while 18.2 percent of the population, immigrants made up nearly one-third of all Main Street business owners in St. Paul.
  • Immigrants were responsible for the creation or preservation of 2,524 local manufacturing jobs. The foreign-born, who represent 38.2 percent of all manufacturing workers in St. Paul, help keep manufacturing jobs on U.S. soil by bolstering the local workforce, enabling companies to stay and create jobs in the area.

Read the full research report here.

About Us

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…