Contact Us

Changing Faces: Immigrants Play Key Role in Central Minnesota Economy [AUDIO]

Immigrant Workers
John Moore – Getty Images

ST. CLOUD — Central Minnesota is home to a growing population of immigrants. With that growth comes an increasing impact on the regional economy.

According to Concordia-St. Paul Professor Bruce Corrie, immigrants have a combined purchasing power of $179 million dollars in Benton, Sherburne and Stearns Counties. Foreign-born citizens also contribute over $54 million in local taxes here in Central Minnesota.

The City of St. Cloud is also seeing an increase of commerce as immigrants are creating businesses. According to the 2007 Survey of Business Owners, 270 minority firms generated over $24 million in sales with an annual payroll of $4.6 million in the Granite City.

However, there are challenges with increasing immigrant populations.

Monica Garcia-Perez is an assistant professor of economics at St. Cloud State University. She says a growing migrant workforce can mean fewer jobs available for locals.

(Press play to hear comments from Monica Garcia-Perez.)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Results from the 2010 American Community Survey show migrant workers make up 13% of production operative workers and 12% of general laborers in Stearns County.

Critics of increasing immigration often point to the possibility of abuse within social safety net programs. Garcia-Perez says this is just one example of a common stereotype.

(Press play to hear comments from Monica Garcia-Perez.)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

New Americans in Minnesota Infographic
Click for larger image. (Infographic courtesy of Immigration Policy Center)

 

Figures from the Immigration Policy Center for Minnesota’s migrant populations highlight additional economic benefits. Asians add $5.9 billion in purchasing power annually while Asian-owned businesses had a total of $2.4 billion in sales and receipts in 2007.

Somalis — with an estimated population of 32,000 — account for more than $164 million in purchasing power and owned over 600 businesses as of 2006.

Although the vast majority of immigrants are here legally, a portion of “illegal” or undocumented immigrants are also living in the region. Estimates by the Immigration Policy Center show there are 60,000 immigrants without proper credentials in the state. According to the group, if removed, the state would lose $4.4 billion in economic activity.

This is part two of a five part series, examining immigrant populations in Central Minnesota.

Read more of our WJON News series 'Changing Faces'

More News from WJON

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://wjon.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on AM 1240 WJON quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Register on AM 1240 WJON quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!