Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio: 2015 Report

Community Research Partners
Date of Publication: 
September, 2015
Source Organization: 
Welcoming America

More than 16,000 refugees have resettled in central Ohio since 1983, most of them in the past 10 years, and they have contributed greatly to the economic health of the region.

Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio, a report prepared by Community Research Partners (CRP), a partnership of the City of Columbus, Ohio State University and other groups, discusses the long-term social and economic impacts of the refugee community in central Ohio. Working with three local refugee resettlement agencies to collect refugee employment, demographic, social and economic data, CRP also organized focus groups of short- and long-term resident refugees. The CRP researchers estimate that the central Ohio refugee community contributes $1.6 billion to the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area economy and supports 21,273 jobs in the region. With 13.6 percent of employed refugees age 16 and older owning a business compared to 6.5 percent of the general population in the same age group, refugees are more than twice as likely to be entrepreneurs. The report notes that increased business ownership creates beneficial networks and relationships that build strong social capital. The report also highlights challenges facing refugee workers such as language barriers, non-transferable certifications and unfamiliarity with U.S. workplace norms, which may adversely affect their chances of being hired. The report recommends further research to identify barriers to refugee job access as well as to foster better communication and cultural understanding among community leaders, service providers and refugees. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

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Community Research Partners. (2015). Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio: 2015 Report. Community Research Partners. Columbus: OH. Available at: