New research from New American Economy (NAE) released today in partnership with the City of Tulsa highlights how immigrants are both essential to Tulsa’s rapid response efforts and especially vulnerable due to gaps in our federal relief package, 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 Tulsa County functioning but put them at higher risk of infection. Immigrants comprise more than 19 percent of all Food Sector workers and 6.9 percent of all Healthcare workers in Tulsa County.
- Immigrants play an important role in Tulsa as job creators, but are concentrated in industries that are especially vulnerable to the economic recession caused by COVID-19. Immigrants make up 19 percent of business owners in General Services, including personal services like laundry, barber, and repair shops, and 17.4 percent of business owners in the Construction industry.
- Culturally sensitive and language accessible emergency materials are in demand. In 2018, over 31 percent of immigrants, or 17,742, living in Tulsa County had limited English language proficiency. Among them, the top three languages spoken at home other than English were: Spanish (76.8 percent), Burmese, Lisu and Lolo (8.5 percent), and Vietnamese (5.0 percent).
The City of Tulsa is one of twelve recipients of NAE research to inform culturally sensitive emergency response measures that ensure all residents are included, regardless of immigration status. This customized research report highlights the demographic nuances of Tulsa County’s immigrant population and will inform the advocacy, development, and implementation of inclusive local emergency responses.