2016 was a big win not just for the Cavs but also for the city of Cleveland. Downtown Cleveland had the opportunity to host the Republican National Convention, the newly transformed Public Square was unveiled, the Indians made a World Series appearance, and of course, to top it all off, the Cavs NBA Championship.

Clevelanders are anxiously waiting what 2017 has in store.

Before we rush into our expectations for 2017 let’s have a discussion on how the foreign-born population affects our beloved city. The city of Cleveland has thrived because of the importance of foreign-born population who has supplied the labor and entrepreneurial abilities needed for any city’s growth.

Ohio’s immigrant population has grown by 2.5 percent between 2010 and 2014. Today, Ohio is home to over 480,000 foreign-born residents. In 2014, immigrants in Ohio earned $15.6 billion and donated $4.4 billion in local, state, and federal taxes that year. (http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2017/02/cleveland_immigrants_pay_taxes_start_businesses_create_jobs_new_american_economy_says.html) Foreign-born workers make up 6.7 percent of all entrepreneurs in the State of Ohio despite only accounting for 4.2 percent of the population.

Immigration is a hot topic right now; after all it takes courage and faith to move to a different country with the hopes of making it and fitting into society. The hope of a foreign-born should show the U.S population how determined immigrants are, in addition to how they benefit the community from their hard work, not in the least by creating new businesses, and by generating income and taxes. With new amenities flowing around Downtown Cleveland more immigrants will continue to find their way to Northeast Ohio and call the Greater Cleveland area home.

For people who migrate from other countries and choose to call Cleveland home these contributions show that Clevelanders have acknowledged the fact that foreign-born residents have assisted with the growth of the economy and are welcomed in the city. A diverse city like Cleveland has various businesses, in particular, restaurants. Clevelanders are known as foodies so it would only be fitting to have extraordinary restaurants from all corners of the world, challenging Clevelanders to explore new foods, countries, and restaurants. The city is dependent on the capability to incorporate new citizens in order to spur technology, innovation, and economic development in order to compete in a highly skilled global economy.

It is not enough to look to history with regards to the importance of foreign-born population, instead, join the conversation on how immigration and international residents can create jobs and influence an energetic 24/7 downtown Cleveland.

To learn more about the impact foreign-born residents in the United Sates head over to The City Club of Cleveland, March 28 from 4p.m-6p.m for The State of Downtown.



Chiamaka Uwagba, Research Associate, Global Cleveland