Mar 23, 2021 - News

How immigrants are fueling Minnesota's economy

Illustration of the American flag with a stripe as a red carpet with a portable rope barrier beside it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Minnesota's growing immigrant population is a major force in the state's economy, according to a new report from the Minnesota Chamber Foundation.

  • The report, released Tuesday morning, details the "undeniable benefit" Minnesota's 470,000-plus foreign-born residents contribute to the state.

The big picture: Immigrants tend to be younger than the general population and they enter the workforce at higher rates than native-born residents.

  • They also play a key role in some of the state's most important and in-demand industries, from nursing to engineering.

By the numbers: Immigrants now make up more than 10% of the state's workforce, up from 2% in the 1980s, per the report.

  • Their spending power totals $12.4 billion — more than double what it was in 2013.
  • Minnesota's immigrant households paid $2 billion in state and local taxes in 2019.
  • As of 2018, the state was home to 18,000 immigrant entrepreneurs, whose businesses employ 52,000 workers.

Yes, but: Our immigrant entrepreneurship levels actually lag the national data. The report argues more support and access to funding is needed to address that gap.

The bottom line: International migration has helped the state stave off negative effects of an otherwise aging population and declining birth rates.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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