Report: Foreign-Born Add $3.1 Billion to Economy

The foreign-born population contributed an estimated $3.1 billion to the Northwest Arkansas economy in 2014, a report on U.S. Census Bureau data shows.

The report — Global Talent: The Economic Engine of Northwest Arkansas — was made public Tuesday by EngageNWA, New American Economy and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

“The talent and skills that are exhibited in the workforce, coupled with the spending impact of individuals new to this country, are directly impacting the growth of the economy today and will in years to come,” said Terry Bankston, EngageNWA’s director.

The contributions of the Northwest Arkansas foreign-born population include such things as starting new businesses that create job, buying homes and paying taxes. The report is based on what’s happening in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes three Northwest Arkansas counties and McDonald County in Missouri.

Relying on information in the U.S. Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey in 2009 and 2014, the New American Economy report estimates:

  • Immigrants accounted for 42 percent of the region’s population growth between 2009 and 2014.

  • Immigrants contributed $3.1 billion to the metropolitan area’s gross domestic product in 2014 and held $1 billion in spending power.

  • Immigrants paid $131 million in state and local taxes in 2014.

  • Immigrants in the region contributed $698.1 million to Social Security and $163.3 million to Medicare during the five-year period.

  • While 11.1 percent of the population, immigrants are 15.4 percent of the region’s employed labor force, and helped to create or preserve 2,569 manufacturing jobs.

  • Immigrants who own their own businesses generated $35 million in business income in 2014.