New report shows immigrants contributed almost $2 billion to Allen County’s economy in a single year

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 2:03 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - In 2019, immigrants in Allen County contributed almost $2 billion to the areas Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to a new report.

The American Immigration Council’s new study shows immigrants play a crucial role in Allen County’s economy. It says, immigrants make up about 7% of Allen County’s population. In 2019, immigrants spent $496 million and paid more than $99 million in taxes.

Flora Barron, owner of Pikoso and Flora & Lilly Food Truck, immigrated to Fort Wayne about 30 years ago. She says it was always her dream to start her own business and provide a better life for her family. She says that dream came true with the help of local organizations in Allen County.

The report, New Americans in Allen County, released by the American Immigration Council—in partnership with Amani Family Services, Downtown Fort Wayne, and Greater Fort Wayne Inc.—underscores the role immigrants play in the region’s labor force, business creation, and consumer spending power.

The new report was awarded to Amani Family Services, Downtown Fort Wayne, and Greater Fort Wayne Inc. as part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and/or technical assistance from the American Immigration Council and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities.

To kick off Welcoming Week, a presentation on the report is scheduled for September 11 at 3:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library – Main. Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. will utilize the new data for a panel discussion on inclusive workforce development during its annual Economic Development Summit on September 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Amani Family Services will present the report at the annual Welcoming Fort Wayne Awards on September 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The report also shows immigrants generated more than $37 million in business income and they make up almost 10% of business owners in the county. They’re also more than twice as likely to start a business.

Barron’s tasty tacos can be found at the Tacos, Tequila and Margarita Festival this weekend at Headwaters Park.