Immigrants in Indiana

October 13, 2017

Indiana has a small but growing immigrant community, much of which hails from Mexico. While only 5 percent of the state’s population was born in another country, foreign-born residents make up a vital, educated share of Indiana’s labor force. Over 30 percent of immigrants in Indiana possess a college or higher degree, while more than 75 percent report speaking English well. Immigrants support the state’s economy in many ways, accounting for nearly 8 percent of business owners in Indiana and more than 9 percent of all engineering and architecture employees. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Indiana’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

Nearly 5 percent of Indiana residents are immigrants, and another 5 percent are native-born U.S. citizens who have at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 321,308 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 4.9 percent of the state’s population.
  • Indiana was home to 146,053 women, 152,076 men, and 23,179 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were Mexico (31.6 percent of immigrants), India (9.1 percent), China (7.9 percent), the Philippines (3.3 percent), and Myanmar (2.9 percent).
  • In 2016, 314,837 Hoosiers (4.8 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Nearly two in five immigrants in Indiana are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 123,109 immigrants (38.3 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 58,878 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • Three in four immigrants (75.5 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants in Indiana are concentrated at both ends of the educational spectrum.

  • Three in ten adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2015, while less than a third had less than a high school diploma. 

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

30.7

24.6

Some college

15.0

29.9

High school diploma only

22.8

35.0

Less than a high-school diploma

31.4

10.6

More than 60,000 U.S. citizens in Indiana live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 110,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 32 percent of the immigrant population and 1.6 percent of the total state population in 2014.
  • 144,147 people in Indiana, including 61,959 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, 3 percent of children in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (54,483 children in total).

Approximately 9,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients live in Indiana.

  • Of the estimated 11,000 DACA-eligible immigrants in Indiana, nearly all (10,789 people) had applied for DACA as of 2017.
  • An additional 4,000 residents of the state satisfied all but the educational requirements for DACA, and another 4,000 would be eligible as they grew older.

Immigrants are vital members of Indiana’s labor force across industries.

  • 194,611 immigrant workers comprised 5.9 percent of the labor force in 2015. 
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Manufacturing

48,997

Accommodation and Food Services

24,870

Health Care and Social Assistance

24,578

Educational Services

23,224

Retail Trade

21,704

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following industries:

Industry

Immigrant Share (%)
(of all industry workers)

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

8.4

Accommodation and Food Services

7.9

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

7.7

Manufacturing

7.0

Construction

6.6

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

Immigrants are an integral part of the Indiana workforce across occupations.

  • In 2015, immigrant workers were most numerous in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Production

29,938

Transportation and Material Moving

23,051

Food Preparation and Serving Related

21,445

Construction and Extraction

16,486

Office and Administrative Support

16,220

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Immigrant Share (%)
(of all workers in occupation)

Life, Physical, and Social Sciences

17.0

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

12.4

Architecture and Engineering

9.1

Construction and Extraction

8.8

Computer and Mathematical Sciences

8.3

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 2.2 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

Immigrants in Indiana have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

  • Immigrant-led households in the state paid $1.6 billion in federal taxes and $702 million in state and local taxes in 2014.
  • Undocumented immigrants in Indiana paid an estimated $92.2 million in state and local taxes in 2014. Their contribution would rise to $120.9 million if they could receive legal status.
  • DACA recipients in Indiana paid an estimated $23.3 million in state and local taxes in 2016.

As consumers, immigrants add billions of dollars to Indiana’s economy.

  • Hoosiers in immigrant-led households had $5.8 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Nearly 1 in 12 self-employed business owners in Indiana is an immigrant.

  • 19,995 immigrant business owners accounted for 7.7 percent of all self-employed Indiana residents in 2015 and generated $515.2 million in business income.
  • In 2015, immigrants accounted for 9.8 percent of business owners in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

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