New Report Shows Immigrants in Central Ohio Paid More than $2 Billion in Taxes in 2019

Immigrants in the Columbus region accounted for 26.4 percent of the population growth between 2014 and 2019.

COLUMBUS, OH – Immigrants paid more than $2.1 Billion in taxes in central Ohio in 2019, according to new research from New American Economy (NAE) through the Gateways for Growth program, operated with Welcoming America, in partnership with US Together, the Columbus City Council, and the Franklin County Commissioners. In addition to their financial contributions, like $729.5 million to Social Security and $204.3 million to Medicare in 2019, the report highlights how immigrants helped contribute to population growth in central Ohio. Between 2014 and 2019 the region’s population grew by 6.4 percent, with the immigrant population growing by 22.2 percent. In the City of Columbus, immigrants accounted for 29.5 percent of the population growth between 2014 and 2019.

The report also highlights how immigrants fill crucial workforce gaps and had an outsize impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of the Columbus region:

  • Immigrants made up 8.7 percent of the area’s population but represented 10.7 percent of its employed labor force.
  • Immigrants accounted for 22.4 percent of the region’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers, nearly 21 percent of transportation and warehousing workers, 14.7 percent of manufacturing workers, and 12.8 percent of healthcare workers — all critical industries that have been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Immigrants strengthened the local job market by allowing companies to keep jobs on U.S. soil, helping preserve or create 8,500 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere by 2019.

Read the full research brief here.

The report was released at the 2021 New American Advisory Council Forum, hosted by US Together and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. The report was produced after US Together, in partnership with Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy, won the 2020 NAE and Welcoming America Gateways for Growth national challenge award, which includes tailored research on the local immigrant population and technical assistance in the creation of a multi-sector strategic immigrant integration plan. Columbus was one of 19 communities nationally to receive the award this year.

“Columbus is a vibrant and diverse city thanks to our immigrant and refugee residents, who contribute to our community immensely,” said Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy. “We will continue to strive to be the most welcoming city in Ohio and the Gateways for Growth program is an important step in addressing economic, language, and cultural gaps.”

“This report provides further definitive proof of something we have known since we opened our doors in 2003: that immigrants and refugees contribute to Central Ohio’s prosperity and growth,” said Nadia Kasvin, Co-Founder and Director of US Together. “This report demonstrates that now more than ever, it is important that we continue to create a space of belonging where everybody feels welcome.”

“The Franklin County Board of Commissioners embraces diversity and inclusion in all that we do; our core values are based on equity and unity,” said Franklin County Board Commissioner President Kevin L. Boyce. “We recognize and celebrate the vast economic and cultural contributions that immigrants and refugees bring to our region, and we are pleased to partner on this exciting Gateways for Growth project.”

“Immigrants are helping fill essential roles across central Ohio, working as transportation, manufacturing, and healthcare workers” said Mo Kantner, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “If Columbus continues to welcome immigrants, the economy, workforce, and entire community will reap the benefits.”

“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. The Columbus region is just one example of how immigrant inclusion is part of the recipe for sustainable population and economic growth,” said Christina Pope, Senior Network Director of Welcoming America.