Immigrants contribute to ND economy

Data show 5% of state’s population foreign born

North Dakota has a small but growing community of immigrants, with many hailing from the Philippines, according to the American Immigration Council.

Immigrants comprised 6% of the state’s workforce in 2018, particularly in health care and social services, where they account for 8% of the employment. They also are often employed in education, followed by manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade. Immigrants accounted for 13% of the state’s production employees and 11% of residents working in the manufacturing industry.

The state’s 1,506 immigrant business owners accounted for 3% of all self-employed in 2018 and generated $66.8 million in business income.

Immigrant-led households in the state paid $156.1 million in federal taxes and $71 million in state and local taxes in 2018.

In a report released Friday, the council revealed roughly 5% of the state population – or one in 20 – was born in another country, and about 45% are naturalized citizens, according to 2018 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Another 5% of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent. Nine in 10 speak English “well” or “very well” and more than a third are college-educated. Another 24% had some college, and only 21% of adults had less than a high school diploma.

In 2016, undocumented immigrants comprised 23% of the immigrant population and 1% of the state’s total population. About 1% of children, or 961, in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one family member who was undocumented from 2010 to 2014.

North Dakota is home to more than a hundred Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

N.D. numbers, 2018

– 35,824 foreign-born individuals comprised 5 percent of the population.

– 16,536 women, 16,204 men and 3,084 children were immigrants.

– Top countries of origin: the Philippines (8%), Bhutan (8%), Nepal (8%), Canada (6%) and Liberia (6%).

– 38,312 people were native-born Americans with at least one immigrant parent.

Source: American Immigration Council,

U.S. Census Bureau


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