Minnesota is built on a foundation of interwoven cultures, and we continue to benefit from the ways immigrants from across the globe help build the vibrant communities we live in and love today. From Albert Lea to Zumbrota, Minnesota cities and towns thrive because of our diverse immigrant populations. Our research on immigration focuses on the contributions that New Americans bring to Minnesota, and policies at the state and federal level that can better allow immigrants to thrive and contribute to our communities.


October 2016

Driver's licenses associated with increased earnings and can boost economy

Driver's licenses are often necessary to provide reliable transportation to jobs in a wider geographic range and on a more flexible work schedule. With wider access to jobs, people can more easily find employment that matches their qualifications and provides competitive wages. The increased earnings that result from Minnesotans gaining better jobs and working more hours can boost the economy through higher consumer spending, and bring in more tax revenue to support schools, roads and other public investments. In addition, given that Minnesota faces a tightening job market and an upcoming labor shortage, expanding access to driver's licenses is an important tool to enable immigrants to fill key roles in the state's workforce.

November 2015

Stable status for undocumented immigrants good for economy

In Minnesota, as in the rest of the United States, immigrants play a crucial role in shaping our economy and communities. Many of the first Minnesota immigrants came from Scandinavian countries, and today families from India, Laos, Mexico and Somalia call Minnesota their home.

November 2015

Driver's licenses for all Minnesotans builds the economy, keeps roads safe

For some Minnesotans, getting a driver's license is impossible, which makes it difficult to get to their jobs, get their kids to school, or even buy food at the grocery store.

November 2015

President Obama's executive action on immigration would expand opportunity

Throughout our nation’s history, immigrants have come to the United States in search of opportunities to build a better life for themselves and their families. Immigrants put their skills to work, and build our workforce and revitalize communities. But federal immigration policy has not kept up with the nation’s economic needs. As a result, there are many immigrants who have strong ties in their communities, but who do not have a legal status. Many have been in the country for a long time and have children who are American citizens. Others came to the U.S. as small children and don’t recognize any other home.

Immigration Blog Posts

May 14, 2021

Driver’s licenses for all is important for building an equitable recovery

Expanding access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status would advance the economic success of our state....

January 05, 2021

Economic recovery would be strengthened by immigrant-inclusive COVID response

With the onset of winter, it’s clear that the coronavirus and accompanying economic disruption will continue to be with...

April 23, 2020

Coronavirus responses should include all our neighbors, including immigrants

Excluding immigrant Minnesotans – who make up close to 9 percent of our state’s population – puts them and their families at risk, and it makes it more difficult for our state and communities to recover from this public health crisis.

April 07, 2020

Racial equity should be at the core of coronavirus responses

Due to the impact of historical racism and ongoing forms of discrimination and bias, BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) will more acutely feel the economic and health effects of this coronavirus crisis. Without attention to equity, they are more likely to be left out of the policy responses.

Research Focus

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Minnesota's Immigrant Contributions

Of Minnesota's 5.4 million residents, more than 418,000 are foreign-born. Nearly 50 percent of those are naturalized citizens. This is just some of the demographic data compiled in easy-to-use infographics that illustrate how Minnesota's immigrants contribute to our economic and cultural prosperity.

See our infographics highlighting demographic data for the state as a whole and for each of Minnesota's eight congressional districts.