GUEST VIEW: Refugees Good for Utica’s Economic Development

March 8, 2017. In an op-ed, FPI’s David Dyssegaard Kallick and executive director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, Shelly Callahan, argue that refugee resettlement is good for Utica’s economic revitalization.

Immigrants and refugees are already reversing population loss. Over the past 15 years, Utica finally turned around its population decline, stabilizing and even squeaking out a little bit of population growth, according to Census Bureau estimates. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll see a story about the importance of refugees and immigrants. Between 2000 and 2015, the U.S.-born population dropped by 3,100. That loss was offset by growth of 3,500 in the foreign-born population–and in Utica, a big share of that is about refugees.

Refugees need support to get established, but do well once on their feet. A recent national study by the Fiscal Policy Institute and Center for American Progress shows this for Somali, Burmese, Hmong and Bosnian refugee communities. The study showed that refugees get jobs quickly and make substantial gains in earnings over time. Homeownership rates are high: three of the four refugee groups studied had higher rates of home ownership than U.S.-born families after 10 years.

Here’s the link to Utica’s Observer Dispatch.