A new research brief from New American Economy (NAE) shows that immigrants in Iowa’s Plymouth and Woodbury counties contributed $522.2 million to GDP and held $137.7 million in spending power in 2015. The report was produced partnership with One Siouxland. The report highlights the demographic and economic contributions of immigrants in the Tri-State Siouxland region by looking at the Sioux City metro area; Plymouth and Woodbury counties, Iowa; and Dakota County, Nebraska.
In addition to their financial contributions, the report shows the critical role the foreign-born play in the Siouxland workforce. In the Sioux City metro area, while 8.8 percent of the population, immigrants made up 11.4 percent of the employed population in 2015. And in Plymouth and Woodbury counties, immigrants represented 7.4 percent of the population but more than 10 percent of the working-age population and 9.4 percent of the employed workforce. The foreign-born in these Iowa counties play an outsize role in key industries such as manufacturing and construction, where they represent nearly a quarter and more than a fifth of workers, respectively.
- Immigrants accounted for 75 percent of all population growth in the Sioux City metro area from 2010 to 2015. While the overall population increased by 1.3 percent, the foreign-born population increased by 12.3 percent.
- Foreign-born residents contributed $522.2 million to the GDP in Woodbury and Plymouth counties in 2015. Immigrant households also support federal social programs, contributing $21.5 million to Social Security and $5.4 million to Medicare.
- Immigrant households in the Woodbury and Plymouth counties earned $195.2 million in income in 2015. Foreign-born households also contributed $9 million in federal taxes and $17.7 million in state and local taxes, including property, sales, and excise taxes.
- Immigrants in these Iowa counties held $137.6 million in spending power, the disposable income households have after paying taxes that can go back into the consumer economy and drive growth.
- The foreign-born population in the Sioux City metro area is playing an outsize role in the workforce. While 8.8 percent of the population, immigrants represent 11.4 percent of the employed population. In Woodbury and Plymouth counties, they represent 7.3 percent of the population, but 10.1 percent of the working-age population and 9.4 percent of the workforce.
- Immigrants accounted for nearly a quarter of manufacturing workers. 24.2 percent of all manufacturing workers in Woodbury and Plymouth counties were immigrants in 2015. The foreign-born also represented 20.5 percent of all construction workers.
- Immigrants in Woodbury and Plymouth counties contributed $156.4 million to the property value of the counties. They also contributed $12.2 million in annual rent, money that goes back into the local economy and drives growth.
- Nearly half—49.5 percent—of immigrants in Dakota County, Nebraska are naturalized citizens. In the Sioux City metro area, 40.1 percent of the foreign-born are naturalized citizens.
Read the full report here.