Immigrants strengthen Colorado’s economy

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The foreign-born population is a growing presence in Colorado, representing 1 in 10 of the state’s residents. Immigrants are a rising proportion of the labor force and contribute significantly to Colorado’s total economic output. In fact, immigrants contribute approximately $42 billion dollars in total output to the Colorado economy.

Using economic modeling software in conjunction with American Community Survey data about the foreign-born population in Colorado, this report quantitatively measures the impact of the immigrant population on the Colorado economy. It documents the characteristics of immigrants who live in the state, their contributions to Colorado’s labor force, and the industries that depend on immigrant workers. The report illustrates that the economic contributions of immigrants are critical to Colorado’s economy.

Key Findings

  • For every 10 immigrants employed in Colorado, an additional seven jobs are created.  Therefore the spending and production of immigrants in Colorado accounts for an additional 212,000 jobs.
  • Immigrant workers contribute 8.5 percent of the gross state product in Colorado.
  • Colorado’s immigrant population makes substantial contributions to the labor force particularly in certain sectors. Immigrant labor accounted for 18.1 percent of total construction employment; 16 percent of the entertainment, hotel and services industry; and 8 percent of the manufacturing sector.
  • Immigrants initiate substantial entrepreneurial activity, accounting for 9 percent of Colorado’s entrepreneurs.
  • In 2011, the foreign-born population generated $42 billion of total production for Colorado’s economy.