Immigrants in Ohio

October 4, 2017

Ohio is home to a growing community of immigrants. While about 4 percent of residents are foreign-born, one in six Ohioans working in the sciences is an immigrant. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Ohio’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

Immigrants make up 4.3 percent of Ohio residents, and about 4.5 percent of residents are native-born U.S. citizens who have at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 503,911 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 4.3 percent of the state’s population.
  • Ohio was home to 234,117 women, 223,728 men, and 46,066 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were India (12.4 percent of immigrants), Mexico (8.7 percent), China (7.1 percent), Germany (3.5 percent), and Canada (3.2 percent).
  • In 2016, 514,536 people in Ohio (4.5 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Half of all immigrants in Ohio are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 255,342 immigrants (50.7 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 83,674 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • More than four in five immigrants (82.2 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

College-educated immigrants make up the greatest share of those in Ohio.

  • 42 percent of adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2015, while 17.5 percent had less than a high school diploma.

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

42.0

26.0

Some college

18.8

29.7

High school diploma only

21.7

34.4

Less than a high-school diploma

17.5

9.9

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

  • 95,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 19 percent of the immigrant population and less than 1 percent of the total state population in 2014.
  • 115,651 people in Ohio, including 43,445 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 the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (36,970 children in total).

Thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients live in Ohio.

  • As of 2016, 59 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Ohio, or 5,249 people, had applied for DACA.
  • An additional 2,000 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 an integral part of the Ohio workforce in a range of industries.

  • 290,300 immigrant workers comprised 5 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

50,081

Manufacturing

48,939

Accommodation and Food Services

35,135

Retail Trade

32,828

Educational Services

31,986

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

7.2

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

7.1

Accommodation and Food Services

6.2

Finance and Insurance

6.0

Other Services (except Public Administration)

5.6

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 Ohio workforce in a range of occupations.

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

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Office and Administrative Support

31,106

Management

29,311

Sales and Related

28,006

Production

26,404

Food Preparation and Serving Related

26,220

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

16.5

Computer and Mathematical Sciences

14.1

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

10.7

Architecture and Engineering

8.1

Personal Care and Service

6.7

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

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 1.1 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

 

Immigrants in Ohio have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

  • Immigrant-led households in the state paid $3.1 billion in federal taxes and $1.3 billion in state and local taxes in 2014.
  • Undocumented immigrants in Ohio paid an estimated $83.2 million in state and local taxes in 2014. Their contribution would rise to $108.8 million if they could receive legal status.
  • DACA recipients in Ohio paid an estimated $14.1 million in state and local taxes in 2016.

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

  • Ohio residents in immigrant-led households had $11.1 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Ohio generate hundreds of millions of dollars in business revenue.

  • 25,608 immigrant business owners accounted for 5.4 percent of all self-employed Ohio residents in 2015 and generated $441.3 million in business income.
  • In 2015, immigrants accounted for 23.2 percent of business owners in the Columbus metropolitan area and 7.2 percent in the Cleveland/Lorain/Mentor metro area.

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