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Media highlights Global Detroit, Ford School study on economic impact of refugees

November 7, 2017

On October 17, Global Detroit and researchers at the Ford School of Public Policy released a study estimating that refugees in southeast Michigan contribute up to $295 million to the regional economy – leading to coverage by numerous media outlets, especially in Michigan.

"Our research documents that these new Michiganders have been a source of strength to the Michigan economy—launching businesses, providing much-needed labor, and achieving self-sufficiency within a very short time after their arrival," said Steve Tobocman (MPP/JD '97), executive director of Global Detroit and one of the study’s authors.

Tobocman’s coauthors include Elisabeth Gerber, associate dean for research and policy engagement at the Ford School, and Jacqueline Mullen (MPP ’18), who worked on the study as a student at the Ford School and an intern at Global Detroit.

The study measures economic contributions by refugee households, refugee-owned businesses, and refugee resettlement agencies. It estimates the total annual economic impact of refugees resettled in Metro Detroit over the last decade to be between $229.6 million and $295.3 million, including the creation of between 1,798 and 2,311 new jobs.

“While economic benefit is not the primary reason for resettlement,” says Mullen, “I hope our study will persuade community leaders across Michigan that supporting welcoming initiatives is good public policy—both for humanitarian reasons, and for economic ones as well.”

The study has been cited in a variety of news stories since its release. For more, read:

--By Jackson Voss (MPP '18)