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Welcoming America Case Studies Project
  • Kevin Cahill
  • Casey Keck
After adopting Welcoming America’s Welcoming Framework do communities see economic, social, and civic returns that benefit both immigrant and receiving community members? Many studies have examined the direct impacts of immigrant inclusion by focusing on the amount of economic activity and social and civic contributions of immigrant populations. This approach is useful in that it provides an estimate of the magnitude of the positive societal impacts of immigrants. One downside of this an approach, however, is that it does not capture net impacts—the positive direct, indirect, and induced impacts to a community net of any offsets, such as public and private assistance programs and refugee resettlement costs. This paper focuses on the net impacts of Welcoming America’s Welcoming Framework using a case-study approach with a quasi-experimental design. We compare the economic, social, and civic attributes of three welcoming cities—Boise, Boston, and Detroit—relative to a set of comparison cities over a 25-year period from 1990 to 2015. We find some evidence for positive net impacts and, perhaps most importantly, we do not find evidence for any statistically-significant net negative economic, social, or civic impacts associated with being a welcoming city. These findings were supported by a series of targeted one-on-one interviews with community leaders and city representatives and focus groups involving service-learning participants. The evidence suggests that adopting a Welcoming Framework comes with benefits and limited downside to both immigrant and receiving community members. 
Publication Date
Spring 2017
Report prepared for Welcoming America, a non-profit focused on immigrant and refugee inclusion. Results to be disseminated to stakeholders and the general public at a later date.
Citation Information
In preparation.