Immigrants in Ohio

June 4, 2020

Ohio is home to a growing community of immigrants, many of whom hail from India. Five percent of the state’s residents were born in another country, while another five percent of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent. Ohio benefits from immigrants’ active participation in the economy: immigrants account for one in seven Ohioans working in computer sciences as well as one in eight workers in the life, physical, and social sciences. As neighbors, business owners, taxpayers, and workers, immigrants are an integral part of Ohio’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

Five percent of Ohio residents are immigrants, while another 5 percent of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2018, 555,583 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 5 percent of the population.
  • Ohio was home to 260,454 women, 252,902 men, and 42,227 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were India (11 percent of immigrants), Mexico (8 percent), China (6 percent), the Philippines (3 percent), and Canada (3 percent).
  • In 2018, 532,398 people in Ohio (5 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

More than half of all immigrants in Ohio are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 293,426 immigrants (53 percent) had naturalized as of 2018, and 84,885 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2017.
  • More than four in five (84 percent) immigrants reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants in Ohio tend to be college educated.

  • More than two in five (42 percent) adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2018, while fewer than one in five (17 percent) had less than a high school diploma.

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

42

28

Some college

19

30

High school diploma only

22

33

Less than a high school diploma

17

9

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.

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

  • 90,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 17 percent of the immigrant population and 1 percent of the total state population in 2016.
  • 115,651 people in Ohio, including 50,264 U.S. citizens, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, about 1 percent of children in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (36,970 children in total).

Ohio is home to nearly 4,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

  • 3,880 active DACA recipients lived in Ohio as of 2019, while DACA has been granted to 14,140 people in total since 2012.
  • As of 2019, 46 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Ohio had applied for DACA.
  • Fewer than 2,000 additional Ohio residents would satisfy all but the educational requirements for DACA, and fewer than 1,000 would be eligible as they grew older.

Immigrants make up 6 percent of the labor force in Ohio and are integral to a range of industries.

  • 338,637 immigrant workers comprised 6 percent of the labor force in 2018.
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries: 

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Manufacturing

68,968

Health Care and Social Assistance

56,444

Retail Trade

37,186

Educational Services

33,717

Accommodation and Food Services

30,593

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 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

8

Transportation and Warehousing

7

Manufacturing

7

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

7

Finance and Insurance

7

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

Immigrants are a vital part of the Ohio workforce in a range of occupations.

  • In 2018, immigrant workers were most numerous in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Production

41,927

Transportation and Material Moving

39,135

Office and Administrative Support

30,204

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical

28,692

Management

27,632

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 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

14

Life, Physical, and Social Science

12

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

11

Architecture and Engineering

10

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

8

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 1 percent of Ohio’s workforce in 2016.

Immigrants in Ohio have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

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

  • Ohio residents in immigrant-led households had $14 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2018.

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

  • 30,432 immigrant business owners accounted for 6 percent of all self-employed Ohio residents in 2018 and generated $891.7 million in business income.
  • In the following Ohio metropolitan areas in 2018, at least one in ten business owners was an immigrant. Immigrants accounted for:
    • 18 percent of business owners in the Columbus metro area,
    • 12 percent in Cleveland/Lorain/Mentor, and
    • 9 percent in Cincinnati/Middleton (which spans Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana).

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