The Economic Potential of African Immigrants in Minnesota

Bruce P. Corrie
Date of Publication: 
May, 2015
Source Organization: 

The economic contributions of African immigrants in Minnesota are greater than previously estimated and deserve more attention from policymakers and mainstream businesses, according to this study funded by the McKnight Foundation.

The author contends that Census numbers underreport these contributions. In The Economic Potential of African Immigrants in Minnesota, the author addresses this and other gaps in research on African immigrants in the state, utilizing immigrant networks and supporting community organizations to survey more than 500 people from a diverse group of African immigrants.  Supplementing this research with additional data from the American Community Survey, a survey of local African immigrant business owners, and a November 2014 election online exit poll that included African immigrant voters, the report also creates estimates on African immigrant consumer spending, business ownership, and civic contributions. The author estimates African immigrant income in Minnesota to be $1.6 billion annually, some of which stems from their entrepreneurial spirit: at least 7.8 percent of the African immigrants surveyed were self-employed, 10.5 percent ran home-based businesses, and 28.2 percent had hopes of owning their own business. To incorporate the great economic potential in the African immigrant community into the larger economy, the author offers recommendations for Minnesota policymakers including partnering with community organizations and developing alternative loan pools. (Carieta Thomas for The ILC Public Education Institute)

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Corrie, B. P. (2015). The Economic Potential of African Immigrants in Minnesota. TheMcknight Foundation. Minneapolis: MN. Available at: