Study: African immigrants' economic impact on Twin Cities is underestimated

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A newly released study by a Twin Cities scholar measures the economic impact African immigrants have on Minnesota – and concludes their value has been underestimated by previous reports and state policymakers.

The study by economist Bruce Corrie at Concordia University in St. Paul says a scarcity of data about the Twin Cities' African immigrant communities causes them to get less attention than they warrant.

Corrie's study says they have a collective income of at least $1.6 billion, making them an important engine of economic growth.

He says the labor of those immigrants is already critical to the state's health care, transportation, and manufacturing sectors and that will continue as Minnesota copes with impending labor shortages.

The Pioneer Press notes that Corrie worked with 40 African cultural groups and business representatives in compiling the study.

While Minnesota is home to 12,000 black-owned businesses, it's unclear how many of those belong to African immigrants. Corrie guesses the number is between 2,200 and 3, 200, the Pioneer Press says.

The study also found the entrepreneurial spirit of African immigrants is especially strong among women.

There's evidence of that at the Karmel Square mall near Lake Street in Minneapolis.

The Star Tribune describes the complex as being in a state of near-constant expansion and a spokesman with the Minnesota Somali Chamber of Commerce tells the newspaper, "it's dominated by women."

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