An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Study Details Immigrants' Effect On Spokane Economy

Spokane City Council Facebook page

A new study quantifies the economic and workforce impact of people who moved to Spokane from other countries.

The report was issued last week by New American Economy. That’s an immigration advocacy group that’s working with the city of Spokane and local business organizations to highlight the contributions of immigrants.The study found that people from other nations make up about 5.6% of Spokane’s population, but fill higher proportions of jobs in industries that have trouble finding workers. The report says they comprise nearly 13% of the workforce in the manufacturing sector, almost 8% of health care workers and 7% of science and technology-related jobs.

What’s interesting is that between 2014 and 2019, the population in the city of Spokane increased by about 3%. The immigrant population actually decreased by over 16% during that same time period. But, despite that, in 2019 alone, they earned over $423 million in income," said Mo Kantner, the director of state and local initiatives at New American Economy.
She says that means they carry some economic clout.
Kantner says her organization is working with its local partners to find ways to help new residents make the transition into Spokane society.

“When we support immigrants and refugees and break down barriers that they’re facing, the entire community benefits. It’s not a matter of one group getting a smaller or larger piece of a pie. It’s really about making the pie bigger and it’s in everyone’s interests to support that," she said.
The study was released on the same day that city Councilman Michael Cathcart as well as several immigrant advocates convened a forum about making Spokane more welcoming for newcomers. You can watch that on the city council’s Facebook page.