Monday, June 25, 2018

Contact: Mike Journee
208-972-8527 |

Immigrants in Ada County Contributed $1.8 Billion to Local GDP in 2016

Immigrant households in Ada County contributed $1.8 billion to the county’s GDP in 2016, according to a new report by New American Economy in partnership with the City of Boise, the Boise Metro Chamber, Global Talent Idaho, and the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Foreign-born residents in Ada County also earned over $638 million and contributed $109 million to federal taxes and $49.6 million to state and local taxes that same year. The report was released ahead of the Idaho Office for Refugee’s annual World Refugee Day Celebration held at the Grove Plaza in Downtown Boise on June 23, from 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. 

In addition to their financial contributions, the report shows the foreign-born population’s role as contributors to the workforce in Ada County. Although the foreign-born made up 6.3 percent of the county’s overall population in 2016, they represented 7.5 percent of its working-age population*, 7.1 percent of its employed labor force, and 12.4 percent of its STEM workers.

“Boise residents have long understood the cultural value that immigrants offer to our community—that is one reason we have such a long-standing history as a welcoming community,” said Mayor David Bieter.  “This report shows that their value to our local economy is quite significant as well. In all ways, our community is richer with immigrants as part of our fabric.”

“Comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level is needed to create jobs, sustain our economy and ensure that families who have made their home in Idaho remain intact,” said Bill Connors, President & CEO of the Boise MetroChamber. “Idaho’s foreign-born workers, including both high-skill and low-skill, are needed for our food, agriculture, technology, and service economy.”

“Global Talent Idaho (GTI) helps refugees and immigrants capitalize on the investment they have made in their education and professional careers overseas. By helping immigrants navigate a professional job search, build new professional networks, and learn the nuances of a U.S. job interview, immigrant job seekers, employers, and our state benefit,” said Tara Wolfson, co-founder of GTI and Director of the Idaho Office for Refugees. “GTI’s 2017 alumni have already added over half a million dollars to our state’s economy, and this report highlights many of the other important ways immigrants are contributing locally.”

“As a state chamber of commerce, we have had the unique opportunity to connect with many minority entrepreneurs across Idaho, including Chardoney Juarez and her parents, who just opened their first business, Chardoney's Brew Lane, in Ada County” said Diane Bevan, President & CEO of the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “They are one of many immigrant families positively impacting the economy, which this new report clearly shows.”

“The economic data out of Boise shows a city embracing immigration and reaping the rewards,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “Like cities across America, Boise can boost growth as more newcomers put down roots, expand the tax base, and help power local businesses.”

The report, New Americans in Ada County, finds:

  • Immigrants contributed $1.8 Billion to Ada County’s GDP in 2016. Immigrant households earned $637.5 million in income that year.
  • Immigrant households contributed $109.0 million in federal taxes and $49.6 million in state and local taxes. They were left with $478.8 million in spending power.
  • Immigrants represented 7.5% of the county’s working age* population. Although the foreign-born made up 6.3% of the county’s overall population, they represented 7.5% of its working-age population, 7.1% of its employed labor force, and 12.4% of its STEM workers in 2016.
  • Immigrants play a critical role in several key industries in the county, making up significant shares of key industries in 2016. Foreign-born workers made up 19.3 percent of all workers in agriculture, as well as 15.4 percent of the manufacturing industry, and 9.4 percent of the hospitality and recreation industry.
  • 961 students who were enrolled in colleges and universities in the county during the fall of 2015 were temporary residents. These international students supported 296 local jobs and spent $24.7 million in the 2016-2017 academic year.
  • Over 40 percent of immigrants in the county—or nearly 11,000 individuals— were naturalized citizens in 2016. 29.1 percent of the non-citizen population were likely eligible to naturalize.

Read the full report here.

Ada County is one of 44 communities selected for the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity from New American Economy and Welcoming America where local communities receive tailored research on the contributions of immigrants, direct technical assistance to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants, or matching grants.


*People aged 16 to 64

About the City of Boise: Our vision is to make Boise the most livable city in the country by fostering vibrant communities, innovative enterprises and lasting environments on behalf of our nearly 225,000 residents. Visit to learn more.

About New American Economy: New American Economy (NAE) brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. Coalition members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. Learn more at