New Americans in Michigan

What immigration does for Michigan and our economy?

Immigrants have always been a part of American culture. The country was founded by immigrants long after Native Americans established their communities here first, and the country (and world) continues to be shaped by immigration.

Immigrants helped establish and strengthen cities and communities, some of our largest corporations and businesses, and the diverse culture(s) that make up what we know America as today. In fact, according to Global Detroit, 7 of 10 of the most valuable brands in the world were created by immigrants to the United States or their children. Some of those brand names include Google, eBay, Budweiser, YouTube, and Pfizer.

According to Michigan State University Extension in Michigan, 10.4 percent of all business owners are foreign-born.

According to the Immigration Policy Center’s New Americans in Michigan report, “Immigrants make up 6.2 percent of the state’s population, and half of them are naturalized citizens who are eligible to vote.” The report continues to explain the economic power behind Michigan’s immigrants, which include Asians, Latinos, and Arabs. Just Asians and Latinos (foreign born and native-born) alone have $21.6 billion in consumer purchasing power. Arab communities in Michigan alone generate approximately $544 million in state tax revenue each year generated from $7.7 billion from employment across the counties making up the Metropolitan Detroit area (April, 2015).

The same Report goes on further to break down the purchasing power between Michigan’s Latinos and Asian populations. Just last year, 2014, Latino communities of Michigan purchasing power reached nearly $10 billion. This is an increase in purchasing power of 354 percent over a 24 year period. Asian purchasing power reached nearly $12 billion since 1990, an increase of 540 percent over the same 24 year period.

Immigrant populations just aren’t contributing economically to Michigan, they are also politically active as well. While only 1.2 percent of the state’s immigrant population (in 2012) is unauthorized and therefore unable to vote, 6.2 percent of Michigan’s “New Americans” are citizens with right to vote. Just in 2013, 51.1 percent of immigrants in Michigan became U.S. citizens and are now eligible to vote.

All of these numbers and the dozens of others published in the April 2015 report have help reinforce the direction Governor Snyder took to establish the Michigan Office for New Americans (MONA) in 2014, which seeks “to help propel the state’s comeback by attracting and retaining immigrants, and promoting the skills, energy and entrepreneurial spirit of our immigrant communities”

This year, 2015, Governor Snyder has proclaimed June to be Immigrant Heritage Month. To learn more about Immigrant Heritage Month please visit Michigan’s Office for New Americans.

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