Immigrants in Minnesota

October 13, 2017

Minnesota has a sizable immigrant community, much of which emigrated from Mexico and India. Foreign-born residents account for over 8 percent of the state’s population, while 7 percent of residents are native-born Americans who have at least one immigrant parent. Across sectors, immigrants support the state’s economy: more than 15 percent of all Minnesota healthcare support employees, for example, are immigrants, as are over 20 percent of residents working in the computer and math sciences. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Minnesota’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

More than 8 percent of Minnesota residents are immigrants, while nearly 7 percent are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 457,185 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 8.3 percent of the state’s population.
  • Minnesota was home to 208,571 women, 196,438 men, and 52,176 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were Mexico (13.9 percent of immigrants), India (7.2 percent), Somalia (5.7 percent), Laos (5.5 percent), and Ethiopia (4.6 percent).
  • In 2016, 357,652 people in Minnesota (6.6 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Nearly half of all immigrants in Minnesota are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 224,718 immigrants (49.2 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 77,692 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • More than three in four immigrants (77.5 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

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

  • Nearly one-third of adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2015, while one-fourth had less than a high school diploma. 

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

32.8

34.9

Some college

21.1

33.9

High school diploma only

20.3

26.0

Less than a high-school diploma

25.8

5.2

More than 50,000 U.S. citizens in Minnesota live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 100,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 23 percent of the immigrant population and 1.9 percent of the total state population in 2014.
  • 138,664 people in Minnesota, including 54,857 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, 4 percent of children in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (48,292 children in total).

Approximately 5,500 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients live in Minnesota.

  • As of 2016, 69 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Minnesota, or 6,930 people, had applied for DACA.
  • An additional 3,000 residents of the state satisfied all but the educational requirements for DACA, and another 2,000 would be eligible as they grew older.

Immigrants are vital to Minnesota’s labor force across industries, accounting for 1 in 10 workers in the state.

  • 303,078 immigrant workers comprised 10 percent of the labor force in 2015. 
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Health Care and Social Assistance

60,580

Manufacturing

58,908

Accommodation and Food Services

28,603

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

28,299

Retail Trade

26,769

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)

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

13.7

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

13.4

Manufacturing

12.9

Accommodation and Food Services

12.2

Other Services (except Public Administration)

11.7

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 Minnesota workforce in a range of occupations.

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

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Production

39,162

Office and Administrative Support

27,750

Management

24,732

Transportation and Material Moving

23,630

Sales and Related

23,100

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)

Computer and Mathematical Sciences

19.9

Military Specific

18.0

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

18.0

Production

15.5

Healthcare Support

15.4

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

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 2.7 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

Immigrants in Minnesota contribute billions of dollars in yearly taxes.

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

  • Minnesotans in immigrant-led households had $8.9 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Minnesota generate nearly a half-billion dollars in annual business revenue.

  • 24,144 immigrant business owners accounted for 8 percent of all self-employed Minnesota residents in 2015 and generated $489.1 million in business income.
  • In 2015, immigrants accounted for 6.1 percent of business owners in the Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington metropolitan area, which spans Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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