Refugees contribute $ 295 million a year to Michigan’s economy, study finds

Refugees in southeast Michigan contribute millions to the region’s economy each year and created an estimated 2,311 new jobs in 2016, according to the results of a study released Tuesday by researchers from Global Detroit and the ‘University of Michigan.

The report claims that the economic impact and the creation of new jobs stem from more than 21,000 refugees who resettled in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties between 2007 and 2016.

“Michigan has been the fourth largest destination state for refugees over the past decade,” said Steve Tobocman, executive director of Global Detroit, a group that supports immigrant entrepreneurs and strives to harness talent. international to meet the needs of local businesses.

“Our research shows that these new Michiganders have been a source of strength to Michigan’s economy – launching new businesses, providing much-needed labor, and achieving self-sufficiency very soon after arriving.

The results of the study were published Tuesday at the Chaldean Cultural Center in West Bloomfield, noting that 90 percent of Michigan’s 21,000 refugees were from Iraq.

“While policies and policies relating to refugees necessarily extend beyond the economy, our research verifies that welcoming refugees is in our own economic interest,” Tobocman said in a press release.

Global Detroit estimates that at least 150,000 Chaldeans live in Southeast Michigan and that more than 61% of their households own a business.

“Studies like today’s report can help policymakers, local and state governments, philanthropy and even the private sector,” said Elisabeth Gerber, professor and associate dean at the Ford School of Public Policy at the ‘UM, in a press release.

“We hope that local communities who decide to host refugees can use this research to better integrate refugees, help them achieve self-reliance and ensure that their resettlement is of economic benefit to the local community.”

In September, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would accept 45,000 refugees over the next year, what the group calls the “lowest ceiling (…) on refugee admissions since 1980” .

About 22 million people, including a significant number of children, are not safe in their countries of origin, according to Global Detroit. The United States has accepted more than 3 million refugees since 1975.

Key Findings from Global Detroit:

  • Federal contract dollar spending by the region’s four refugee resettlement agencies in 2016 represents $ 12.2-15.7 million in annual spending activities and 164-211 jobs.
  • Spending by refugee households who arrived between 2007 and 2016 is estimated to amount to $ 164.3-211.3 million in annual expenditure, supporting 1,315 to 1,690 jobs.
  • A “very conservative” estimate suggests that these refugees own 438 businesses that collectively spend $ 70.1-90.2 million per year and provide between $ 70.1 and $ 90.2 million in economic benefits to the southeast. Michigan, including 319 to 410 local jobs.
  • The US State Department says 53 percent of Southeast Michigan refugees have settled in Oakland County. Macomb County with 34 percent, Wayne County with 9 percent and Washtenaw County make up the remaining 3 percent.
  • Southfield, Sterling Heights, Troy, Warren and Madison Heights hosted the largest number of refugees in the decade.

Other contributors to the study include: Samaritas, Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Welcoming Michigan-Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, and the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce.


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