New Report Shows Immigrants in the South Bend-Elkhart Region Paid Over $258 Million in Taxes and Held Over $783 Million in Spending Power in 2019

Despite making up 6.9% of the population, immigrants made up 9.3% of working-age people and 9.2% of STEM workers and entrepreneurs.

December 7, 2023

SOUTH BEND, IN, December 7, 2023A new report, New Americans in Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties, released today by the American Immigration Council—in partnership with the City of South Bend, South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and Welcoming Michiana, a program of the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County—highlights the crucial role immigrants play in the region’s labor force, business creation, and consumer spending power.  

In 2019, approximately 36,000 immigrants lived in the South Bend - Elkhart region, representing 6.9% of the total population. Between 2014 and 2019 the total population of the South Bend - Elkhart region increased by 1.6% and 40.3% of the region’s population growth was attributable to immigrants. This means that population growth would have grown at a slower rate without immigrants moving to the area.  

The new report was awarded to the City of South Bend, South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, and Welcoming Michiana, a program of the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County as part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for communities to receive research support and/or technical assistance from the American Immigration Council and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities. 

“New residents are critical to our economy and future growth,” said Mayor James Mueller of South Bend, Indiana. “The findings of this report highlight the importance of ensuring South Bend is a Welcoming City for our new neighbors.”  

“The South Bend – Elkhart region is stronger because of our new American neighbors,” said Bethany Hartley, president and CEO of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “Immigrants are critical to our area’s population growth, so we were grateful to the Gateways for Growth grant to better understand their experience.” 

“This report underscores the importance of New Americans to our communities. The URC is helping in that effort by assisting refugees to resettle in Michiana,” said John Pinter, executive director, United Religious Community. “It is important that our new neighbors have a sense of belonging in order to thrive here.”  

“The data is clear; immigrants play an integral role in the social and economic fabric of the South Bend-Elkhart region,” said Micaela McConnell, senior policy associate, state and local initiatives at the American Immigration Council. “Immigration is helping build vibrant and culturally diverse communities and driving economic growth in the region.” 

"The South Bend-Elkhart region is just one example of how communities can effectively harness the talent of immigrants to create greater prosperity for all residents," said Molly Hilligoss, network director of Welcoming America. "We're thrilled that the Gateways for Growth Challenge can be part of supporting the region in becoming an even more welcoming place." 

The new research report, New Americans in Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties, finds: 

  • Immigrants are helping the region meet its rising labor needs in key industries. While making up 6.9% of the region’s overall population, immigrants accounted for 12.9% of manufacturing workers, 9.8% of education workers, 9.4% of health care and social assistance workers, and 9.1% of hospitality workers. 
  • Immigrants are a significant portion of the region’s entrepreneurs. Immigrants represented 9.2% of business owners in the South Bend - Elkhart region in 2019. About 1,600 immigrant entrepreneurs generated $43.3 million in business income for the region. 
  • Immigrants in the region help create or preserve local manufacturing jobs. Immigrants strengthened the local job market by helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil. They helped preserve or create 1,700 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise been eliminated or moved elsewhere by 2019. 
  • Immigrant households support the federal safety net. The immigrant community contributed $110.6 million to Social Security and $29.7 million to Medicare in 2019. 

Read the full research brief to learn more. 


About the City of South Bend 

South Bend is a growing rust belt city in Northern Indiana with a population over 103,000 and seven area colleges and universities. Mayor James Mueller serves as the city’s 33rd chief executive and is responsible for a workforce of over 1,000 employees and an annual budget over $380 million. Mueller’s priorities include strengthening education from cradle to career to set up every child for success, reforming public safety systems to create a safe community for everyone, promoting shared growth and an economy that works for everyone, and rebuilding neighborhoods block by block. For more information, please visit  

About South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership 

The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: educating a world-class workforce, recruiting, and retaining great talent, attracting, and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing industries, promoting inclusion and sparking opportunities for minorities and helping entrepreneurs thrive. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit 

About the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County 

Since 1972, the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County (URC) has worked across faith traditions to act as a referral resource to assist families meet their basic financial needs. In 2016, the URC launched Welcoming Michiana. Welcoming Michiana is part of the Welcoming America network. We work to help New Americans reach their full potential in our community. The URC is also part of the Church World Service network to receive and place refugees in Michiana. 

About the American Immigration Council  

The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. In January 2022, the Council and New American Economy merged to combine a broad suite of advocacy tools to better expand and protect the rights of immigrants, more fully ensure immigrants’ ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming. Follow the latest Council news and information on and Twitter @immcouncil.   

About Welcoming America 

Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. We believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of our communities and shared future. Through the Welcoming Network, we work to change systems and culture by providing communities the roadmap they need to create welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion to create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Learn more at 


Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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