Immigrants in North Dakota

October 13, 2017

North Dakota has a small but growing immigrant community, much of which hails from the Philippines. Nearly 4 percent of the state population was born in another country, while just over 4 percent of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent. Foreign-born residents are increasingly vital to North Dakota’s labor force, with immigrants accounting for over 10 percent of the state’s production employees and over 9 percent of residents working in the manufacturing industry. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of North Dakota’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

Nearly 4 percent of North Dakota residents are immigrants, while more than an additional 4 percent of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 28,649 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 3.8 percent of the state’s population.
  • North Dakota was home to 12,482 women, 13,819 men, and 2,348 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were the Philippines (14.1 percent of immigrants), Canada (10 percent), Nigeria (5.9 percent), China (5.7 percent), and India (5.2 percent).
  • In 2016, 33,213 people in North Dakota (4.4 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Three in seven immigrants in North Dakota are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 12,582 immigrants (43.9 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 5,538 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • The vast majority of immigrants (87.4 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Most immigrants in North Dakota have pursued education at or above the college level.

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

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

36.5

28.8

Some college

27.1

36.2

High school diploma only

20.9

27.9

Less than a high-school diploma

15.5

7.1

More than 1,000 U.S. citizens in North Dakota live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • Fewer than 5,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 13 percent of the immigrant population and 0.5 percent of the total state population in 2014.
  • 4,050 people in North Dakota, including 1,282 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, 1 percent of children in North Dakota were U.S.-citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (961 children in total).

Fewer than 100 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients live in North Dakota.

  • As of 2017, 141 people in North Dakota had applied for DACA.
  • DACA recipients in North Dakota paid an estimated $286,000 in state and local taxes in 2016.

Immigrants are an integral part of the state’s labor force across industries.

  • 17,837 immigrant workers comprised 4.3 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

3,316

Manufacturing

2,655

Retail Trade

2,442

Accommodation and Food Services

1,979

Educational Services

1,928

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)

Manufacturing

9.1

Accommodation and Food Services

6.4

Transportation and Warehousing

6.3

Finance and Insurance

5.6

Real Estate Rental and Leasing

5.3

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

Immigrants are a vital part of the North Dakota workforce across occupations.

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

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Production

2,547

Construction and Extraction

2,157

Management

1,987

Sales and Related

1,828

Transportation and Material Moving

1,828

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)

Production

10.5

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

9.4

Community and Social Service

8.4

Life, Physical, and Social Sciences

7.0

Healthcare Practitioners, Technologists, and Technicians

6.5

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

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 0.7 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

Immigrants in North Dakota have contributed more than one-hundred million dollars in taxes.

As consumers, immigrants add hundreds of millions of dollars to North Dakota’s economy.

  • North Dakota residents in immigrant-led households had $435 million in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in North Dakota generate millions of dollars in business revenue.

  • 1,157 immigrant business owners accounted for 2.3 percent of all self-employed North Dakota residents in 2015 and generated $70.3 million in business income.

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