St Paul, Minnesota. (Image: Brendan Scherer)


Immigrant Contributions to Minnesota's Economy

A new joint research brief finds that immigrants are responsible for 7.5 percent of the state’s GDP.

This research brief highlights the important role that Minnesota’s foreign-born population plays in the state’s economy. The joint analysis by the Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition, the Partnership for a New American Economy, and Americas Society/Council of the Americas finds that foreign-born Minnesotans contribute more in tax contributions and purchasing power than previously realized, and that they are responsible for 7.5 percent of the state’s GDP.

Download the research brief.

Key Findings

  • The overall role of immigrants in the state’s economy has resulted in meaningful GDP gains in recent years. In 2012, immigrants contributed more than $22.4 billion to Minnesota’s GDP. That means they accounted for 7.5 percent of the total GDP in the state that year.
  • Almost 40 percent of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 firms were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. In 2014, the state was home to 18 Fortune 500 companies, placing it in the top 10 states with the most such firms in the country. Together, the list of companies founded by immigrants or their children—a group that includes 3M, Medtronic, and Hormel Foods—employ more than 264,000 people globally and bring in more than $100 billion in revenue each year.
  • The purchasing power of immigrants in Minnesota totaled more than $7.7 billion in 2013 alone. This brief utilizes an updated method to calculate immigrants’ purchasing power that allows for a more detailed and in-depth analysis of immigrant wages than was available in previous studies. This method of analyzing the income of immigrants produces a surprising finding: although long recognized as an important part of Minnesota’s economic picture, immigrants have far higher amounts of disposable income than has been previously reported.
  • Immigrants help sustain Minnesota’s public services through tax contributions and contributions to critical entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. In 2013, immigrants in Minnesota contributed more than $1.2 billion in state and local taxes and more than $1.5 billion to Social Security and Medicare.
  • Immigrants accounted for nearly 29 percent of Minnesota’s population growth from 2000 to 2013. During that time, the foreign-born population grew from 260,463 people to 403,514—an increase of nearly 55 percent in a 13-year period. For comparison, that growth rate outpaced the trend in nearby Wisconsin, where 21 percent of population growth was due to immigrants, and the foreign-born population increased by a little over 41 percent during the same period.
  • The foreign-born play a key role in maintaining—and increasing—housing values in Minnesota. In some parts of the state, most notably the Hennepin County area around Minneapolis, the value of the average home rose by more than $2,000 between 2008 and 2012 due solely to the arrival of immigrants. In other areas that saw an outflow of immigrants, housing values fell by more than $1,200 during that period, compounding the impact of the financial crisis.

About the AS/COA Immigration and Integration Initiative

The Immigration and Integration Initiative advances the integration of immigrants and promotes positive dialogue around the economic contributions of immigrants across the United States. Launched after the congressional attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, the initiative creates opportunities for business leaders and policymakers to raise awareness of the positive contributions that can result from changing demographics in various U.S. cities.