LANSING — Contributions made by the state’s immigrant community were given a nod with a proclamation by Governor Whitmer, declaring June 2021 Immigrant Heritage Month.
The state has joined a nationwide effort to collectively celebrate the history, culture and powerful influence immigrants have in shaping their communities and bolstering the nation’s economy.
678,000 immigrants make up approximately 7 percent of Michigan’s total population, with more than 450,000 immigrants in Metro Detroit, 72,500 in Grand Rapids and 28,700 in Ingham county, according to data from New American Economy.
Some of the state’s largest and most vibrant communities are where a majority of immigrants call home, including the Metro Detroit area with prominent immigrant hubs like Detroit, Dearborn and Hamtramck, to name a few.
“The hundreds of thousands of immigrants spread across every corner of our state is a signal of the vast opportunities Michigan offers those in search of a better life for themselves and their families,” said Office of Global Michigan Director Fayrouz Saad. “Immigrants have made a wealth of contributions to this country and continue to make countless contributions to support, enrich and build up Michigan’s economy.”
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) notes that immigrants offer innovative ideas and create and fill in-demand jobs in Michigan. The top occupations in Michigan with the highest number of foreign-born workers are software developers, agricultural workers, physicians, physical therapists and post-secondary teachers.
We owe immigrants a great deal of gratitude because they have provided us with unique social and economic influences, which ultimately enhance the Michigan experience — Fayrouz Saad
In Michigan, and across the country, immigrants continue to grow business, and with more than 36,000 immigrant entrepreneurs in Michigan, these businesses have contributed a total income of $1.2B. Thirty-three percent of Michigan-based fortune 500 companies were either founded by an immigrant or by the child of an immigrant. Those firms generate $186.4B in annual revenue and employ 400,000 people globally.
“We owe immigrants a great deal of gratitude because they have provided us with unique social and economic influences, which ultimately enhance the Michigan experience,” Saad said.
The LEO noted how refugees living in the U.S. and several Michigan cities make tremendous contributions to the economy as earners, taxpayers and consumers just like immigrants. June 20 is designated as World Refugee Day in Michigan to “acknowledge their struggle and preserve their human rights.”