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Report: Worcester’s Foreign-Born Residents Contribute Greatly to City’s Economy

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

 

On Monday, the Seven Hills Foundation released a report that details the challenges and economic contributions of Worcester's foreign-born residents.

According to the report, titled “The Foreign Born Population in Worcester: Assessing the Challenges and Contributions of a Diverse Community”, children of the foreign-born population have an impact on the public education system, and the report provides a detailed description of Worcester’s largest foreign-born subpopulations. 

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE: Worcester Foreign Born Study

“Having such extreme viewpoints about an issue as important as immigration clouds our ability to develop sound policy and workable strategies that support families and communities. It is my sincere desire that public officials, students, advocacy and service organizations, the general public, and others interested in better understanding the dynamics surrounding our foreign-born populations in Worcester may use this document as a source of information and reflection,” stated Dr. David Jordan, President of the Seven Hills Foundation, which commissioned the report.  

The report was prepared by a team of researchers from the Public Policy Center (PPC) at UMass Dartmouth in collaboration with the UMass Donahue Institute and was made possible by the financial support of Trustees of Worcester-based foundations- the George F. & Sybil H. Fuller Foundation; the Stoddard Charitable Trust; and the Fletcher Foundation.

“The diversity of Worcester’s foreign-born population should not be simply defined in terms of country of origin or cultural background, as there is also a great deal of socioeconomic diversity both across and within groups of foreign-born residents in Worcester,” noted Christina Citino, a senior researcher with the UMass Donahue Institute. She further explained that “Worcester-area service providers felt that recognizing and understanding the population’s diversity is a critical step to dispelling the many myths and misconceptions about Worcester’s foreign-born residents.”

"Our research finds that the City of Worcester benefits in a number of important ways from its immigrant community,” noted Professor Michael D. Goodman, Executive Director of the Public Policy Center (PPC) at UMass Dartmouth.  “Significantly, foreign born residents represent 21 percent of the population but are 37 percent of Worcester’s small business owners. And foreign-born workers fill critical gaps in the region’s STEM workforce and have helped to position Worcester for economic success,” Goodman added.  

Finding of the report include:

  • Foreign-born entrepreneurs account for 37 percent of all business owners in Worcester, double the statewide rate. Historically, immigrant entrepreneurs are more likely to own neighborhood-based businesses such as restaurants, groceries, and retail stores.
  • Foreign-born adults are more likely than natives to have earned a degree in key STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or healthcare).
  • Foreign-born workers collectively earn $947 million annually, which represents 26 percent of the nearly $3.7 billion in total earnings citywide.
  • Worcester’s foreign born spent an estimated $472 million in the local economy in 2015. These consumer expenditures resulted in an estimated $715 million in local economic output (sales), $256 million in new labor income, all of which supported an estimated 5,695 jobs in the Greater Worcester economy (defined as Worcester proper and contiguous communities).

See all of the report's findings here: Worcester Foreign Born Study

 

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