Immigrants in Allen County contributed $1.9 billion to the county’s GDP
ALLEN COUNTY, IN, September 8, 2023—A new report, New Americans in Allen County, released today by the American Immigration Council—in partnership with Amani Family Services, Downtown Fort Wayne, and Greater Fort Wayne Inc.—underscores the crucial role immigrants play in the region’s labor force, business creation, and consumer spending power.
Between 2014 and 2019, the population of Allen County increased by 3.3 percent while the immigrant population grew by 12.6 percent, with 24.0 percent of the total population growth in the county attributable to immigrants. This means that population growth would have been slower without immigrants moving to the county.
In 2019 alone, immigrants in the county held $496.0 million in spending power and paid $99.1 million in federal taxes and $61.8 million in state and local taxes. Despite making up 6.8 percent of the county’s total population in 2019, immigrants represented 8.8 percent of its working age population, 7.8 percent of its employed labor force, and 5.4 percent of its science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers in 2019.
The new report was awarded to Amani Family Services, Downtown Fort Wayne, and Greater Fort Wayne Inc. as part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and/or technical assistance from the American Immigration Council and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities.
To kick off Welcoming Week, a presentation on the report is scheduled for September 11 at 3:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library – Main. Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. will utilize the new data for a panel discussion on inclusive workforce development during its annual Economic Development Summit on September 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Amani Family Services will present the report at the annual Welcoming Fort Wayne Awards on September 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
“Amani has been dedicated to advancing priorities around welcoming and inclusion for the past 17 years as an agency,” said Amani CEO Ewelina Connolly. “This critical data allows us to amplify the voices of those we serve and care about. We view this as an opportunity to make an incredible impact on our community.”
“As we work towards advancing Downtown Fort Wayne as the vibrant, urban core of northeast Indiana, making the heart of our region more welcoming to new employees, residents and businesses is simply good practice,” said Michael Galbraith, President of Downtown Fort Wayne. “Our unparalleled growth as a city and region depends on increasing growth, prosperity and diversity for new and existing residents.”
“This research highlights the important contributions of foreign-born residents in Allen County. Locally, immigrants account for about 12,000 members of the workforce, 1,300 entrepreneurs and small business owners, and 1,500 college students,” said Ellen Cutter, Chief Economic Development Officer at Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “We are building a nationally recognized economy in Fort Wayne and Allen County, and newcomers play an important role in our community’s success.”
“Immigrants are helping to fill critical roles across Allen County, including in industries like manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture,” said Micaela McConnell, senior policy associate of state and local initiatives at the American Immigration Council. “As the multi-sector strategic planning efforts are underway, the community is taking important strides to ensure that the region is welcoming to all newcomers and that every community member can thrive.”
“Through programs like Gateways for Growth, we’ve seen the widespread benefits to entire communities when immigrants are able to contribute fully, particularly as entrepreneurs, workers in key industries, neighbors, and community leaders. Allen County is just one example of how immigrant inclusion is part of the recipe for sustainable population and economic growth,” said Molly Hilligoss, network director of Welcoming America.
“Many places consider themselves welcoming to immigrants, but not all will undergo the work it takes to build an inclusive infrastructure to ensure their success,” said Briana Broberg, Midwest regional manager for Welcoming America. “In working with Allen County, it is apparent that community leaders view immigrant success as success for all. We look forward to continuing working with them on strengthening this infrastructure.”
The new research report, New Americans in Allen County, finds:
- Immigrants are helping the county meet its labor force demands. In 2019, immigrants were 32.3 percent more likely to be of working age than their U.S.-born counterparts.
- Immigrants support the federal safety net. Immigrants contributed $65.3 million to Social Security and $17.4 million to Medicare in Allen County in 2019.
- Immigrants are helping Allen County meet its rising labor needs in key industries. While making up 6.8 percent of the county’s overall population in 2019, immigrants represented 13.5 percent of manufacturing workers, 12.3 percent of construction workers, and 8.3 percent of hospitality workers.
- Immigrants play a significant role in the county as entrepreneurs. Immigrants represented 9.9 percent of business owners in Allen County in 2019. About 1,300 immigrant entrepreneurs generated $37.9 million in business income for the county.
Read the full research brief at the Council’s website.
Downtown Fort Wayne and Greater Fort Wayne Inc. received a portion of funding for Gateways for Growth from St. Joseph Community Health Foundation to offset the organizations’ matching efforts.
About the American Immigration Council
The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. In January 2022, the Council and New American Economy merged 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. Follow the latest Council news and information on ImmigrationImpact.com and Twitter @immcouncil.
About Welcoming America
Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. We believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of our communities and shared future. Through the Welcoming Network, we work to change systems and culture by providing communities the roadmap they need to create welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion to create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Learn more at welcomingamerica.org.
About Amani Family Services
Amani Family Services is a local nonprofit organization serving more than 2,000 individuals from around the world. Learn more about Amani Family Services at AmaniFamilyServices.org.
About Downtown Fort Wayne
Downtown Fort Wayne partners with various public, nonprofit, and private sector organizations to make Downtown Fort Wayne an attractive place to live, work and play. Downtown Fort Wayne’s mission is to advance Downtown Fort Wayne as the vibrant, urban core of northeast Indiana. For more information about Downtown Fort Wayne, go to DowntownFortWayne.com.
About Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne Inc. is the single point of contact for economic growth and business services in Fort Wayne – Allen County, Indiana. We focus on supporting local business, attracting new business, and improving our community’s quality of place to grow jobs, wages, and the economy. Go to GreaterFortWayneInc.com to learn more.