New Americans in Washtenaw County
Date: September 8, 2021
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 Washtenaw County paid over $640 million in taxes and held $1.5 billion in spending power in 2019. The new report, New Americans in Washtenaw County, was prepared in partnership with Washtenaw County.
The report also features profiles of two Washtenaw County residents: Deborah Ngandu and Esperance Malonga.
- Immigrants are helping Washtenaw County fill crucial roles in the STEM workforce. Immigrants made up 12.4 percent of the region’s population but accounted for 24.3 percent of its STEM workers, and nearly half of immigrants in the county had an advanced degree, compared with 25.7 percent of their U.S.-born counterparts.
- Immigrants are helping Washtenaw County meet its labor force demands. As of 2019, although immigrants made up 12.4 percent of the county’s overall population, they represented 14.5 percent of its working-age population and 13.9 percent of its employed labor force. This allows them to actively participate in the labor force and contribute to the economy as taxpayers and consumers.
- Immigrants in Washtenaw County help foster an entrepreneurial spirit. Despite making up 12.4 percent of the total population, immigrants made up 12.9 percent of business owners in the county in 2019. In the county, 2,000 immigrant entrepreneurs generated $72.7 million in business income that can be reinvested back into the community.
- Immigrants are helping Washtenaw County meet its rising labor in key industries. While making up 12.4 percent of the county’s overall population, immigrants accounted for 20.1 percent of education workers, 17.6 percent of manufacturing workers, and 14.1 percent of health care and social assistance workers.
- Immigrants in Washtenaw County 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 2,100 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere by 2019.
Between 2014 and 2019 the population of Washtenaw County increased by 4.3 percent, while the immigrant population grew by 10.8 percent. In 2019 alone, immigrants in the region held $1.5 billion in spending power, and paid $467.5 million in federal taxes and $174.0 million in state and local taxes. Additionally, the crucial role that immigrants play in the workforce helped create or preserve 2,100 manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise disappeared or moved elsewhere by 2019.
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.