New Report Shows the Impact of Immigrants on Akron

Jul 11, 2016

Tika Dhimal is one of thousands of refugees who have settled in Akron and are now having a big economic impact on the city that would otherwise be losing population much more quickly without foreign-born residents.
Credit M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

A new study looks at the impact of Akron’s influx of immigrants since the turn-of-the-millennium.

The report shows that Akron’s population decline has been slowed with the arrival of more than 2,000 immigrants in the city between the year 2000 and 2013.

The study was conducted by the Partnership For a New American Economy, a non-partisan group of hundreds of mayors and business leaders who support immigration reform.  Director of State and Local Initiatives Dan Wallace says the study shows the economic impact by immigrants in Akron, including $17 million in state and local taxes in 2013 alone.

“Where immigrants are present, they’re helping to revitalize neighborhoods, they’re starting businesses [and] they work in key areas of the workforce.  There’s not the animosity at the local level that you hear about on the national stage.”

Other findings in the study include the fact that a far greater percentage of foreign-born Akronites have bachelor’s degrees compared to those who were born here, and they hold close to 12 percent of science, mathematics and engineering jobs.

The partnership has awarded a Gateways for Growth grant of $12,500 to the International Institute to continue to help Akron’s foreign-born residents.

“Because of the strength of the partnerships there, there’s representation from the city and from Summit County [plus] the International Institute in Akron and other non-profit organizations. And all of those different institutions are coming together to develop a strategic plan for making the community more welcoming and more immigrant-friendly.”

The study – funded by the Knight Foundation – also shows a boost in home values of more than $200 million due to foreign-born residents.  The full report is available here.