4,000 Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Tulsa Metro Area Generated $55 Million in Business Income, New Study Shows

This article was archived on 12/30/2017

This morning, New American Economy released the attached report in partnership with the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Regional Chamber documenting the economic impact of immigrants in the Tulsa metropolitan area.

According to the results, representing just 6.7 percent of the population, immigrants accounted for 27.9 percent of overall population growth in the Tulsa area between 2010 and 2015 and contributed $3.8 billion to the Tulsa metropolitan GDP in 2015. There were 4,047 immigrant entrepreneurs in the Tulsa area that generated $55 million in business income in 2015.

In September, Mayor G.T. Bynum announced Tulsa was selected for the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive direct technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants. Bynum also launched the New Tulsans Initiative with the objective to partner with local community organizations and businesses to develop a strategic plan focused on promoting socially responsible immigrant integration.

“Our goal is to build an inclusive economy - removing barriers to small business growth by supporting an important segment of our community that contributes to Tulsa’s overall success,” Bynum said. “Immigrant entrepreneurs are helping Tulsa become a more diverse, resilient world-class city.”

“One of the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s main priorities is to help our region grow the strongest possible workforce to meet local industry needs,” said Mike Neal, President and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “The regional immigrant population provides an enormous number of talented, skilled workers who add critical value to the local economy.”

“Growing cities like Tulsa see the broad economic benefits of immigration firsthand,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “By attracting immigrants, Tulsa creates and keeps jobs here and boosts the local economy for everyone.”

Additional report findings:     

  • The foreign-born population paid $135.2 million in state and local taxes and $252.1 million in federal taxes, and held $1.2 billion in spending power.
  • Growth in the foreign-born population accounted for 27.9 percent of overall population growth between 2010 and 2015, increasing the total housing value in the metro area by $600 million.
  • Immigrants contributed $3.8 billion to the metro area’s GDP in 2015.
  • Immigrants are more likely to be of working age (16-64) than their U.S.-born neighbors. Nearly 85 percent of foreign-born residents were of working age in 2015, compared to 62 percent of U.S.-born residents.
  • Immigrants play an outsize role in Tulsa’s key industries, accounting for nearly 21 percent of construction workers, 14.4 percent of workers in the tourism and hospitality, and 14.2 percent of manufacturing workers.
  • Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce, helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants living in the Tulsa metro area helped create or preserve 3,029 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.
  • In the fall of 2015, 1,934 students enrolled in colleges and universities in the metro area were international students. These students supported 860 local jobs and spent $70 million in that academic year.

**Editor’s note:**

Community leaders are holding a New Tulsans Initiative Summit today, Nov. 29, from 8:30 a.m. – noon at the Aaronson Auditorium in the Tulsa City-County Central Library, 400 Civic Center, to discuss the report results and participate in group breakout sessions regarding immigration integration as it relates to civic engagement, economic development, education, equitable access, health and law enforcement. Media are welcome to attend. Agenda attached.