September 30, 2021

City of Chicago Announces Findings That Ranks City First in The Nation for Inclusive Policy and Socioeconomic Environment for Immigrants

New data from NAE Cities Index shows immigrants in the Chicago metro area paid more than $20.6 billion in taxes in 2019

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO - Today, the City of Chicago announced the findings of the fourth annual NAE Cities Index, a national assessment of local integration policies and socioeconomic outcomes in the largest 100 cities. The City of Chicago ranks first in the nation overall in this year’s Index. The City received the highest possible score in every policy category – Government Leadership, Economic Empowerment, Inclusivity, Community, Legal Support, and Emergency Management – and received distinction for impressive socioeconomic scores in Economic Prosperity (5/5) and Livability (4/5). 

"Chicago is home to thousands of immigrants who come from all walks of life and experiences," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "By centering equity and inclusion in our work, we are able to fully support all of our residents—especially those who need extra resources and support during this once-in-a-lifetime crisis. We are delighted with the findings of the NAE report and are proud to continue embracing and integrating our diverse, immigrant and refugee communities through ongoing initiatives like Citizenship Corners, the Families Forward Fund and more." 

The NAE Cities Index uses 59 separate metrics to assess how immigrants compare to their native-born counterparts economically, civically, socially, and politically. In light of the important role cities are playing in the COVID-19 response and recovery effort, this year’s Index also includes a new section on Inclusive Emergency Management, developed through a multi-city research effort.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in the federal government’s response that left millions of immigrant workers and families, including essential workers, out to dry, but cities across the country stepped up to meet these needs and build back stronger,” said Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of New American Economy. “This year’s Cities Index shows that cities of all sizes, budgets, and political environments understand that taking concrete steps to integrate immigrants -- to help them access emergency services, keep their businesses open, or begin the naturalization process -- is beneficial for all of their residents.”  

The Cities Index was released as Chicago prepares to pass the 2022 budget that includes cash assistance for previously excluded families, increased legal support, and other programs aimed at mental health and family assistance programs. Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance, amended earlier this year, ensures access to City resources and programs regardless of immigration status.

“This is great news and underscores how the City's policies further our goal of being a welcoming city,” said 30th Ward Alderman Ariel Reboyras. “As the first Chairman of the newly established Immigrant and Refugee Rights Committee, I see first-hand how the needs of these communities are thoughtfully considered by City leadership and we will continue to do our best to welcome, support, and integrate anyone who chooses to call Chicago home.”  

“The work to ensure our local government is inclusive and supportive of our immigrant community happens hand-in-hand with local community leaders,” said Karina Ayala-Bermejo, CEO and President of Instituto del Progreso Latino and the Chair of the City of Chicago’s New American Advisory Council. “In Chicago, we have built strong partnerships with Mayor Lightfoot's administration that results in the type of policies, resources, and services--accessible to anyone regardless of immigration status--that we hope become the norm across the U.S. The Cities Index shows that this collaboration is working, and we will continue to work together to support our immigrant and refugee communities.” 

Additionally, new data from New American Economy show that: 

  • Immigrants in the Chicago metro area paid $20.6 billion in taxes in 2019 
  • There were more than 114,000 immigrant entrepreneurs in 2019 
  • Immigrants in the metro area make up 17.5% of the total population 

For more information on the NAE Cities Index visit   

For more information on Chicago metro area data visit


About New American Economy 

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower, and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways:

  1. we use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy,
  2. we organize champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration,
  3. we partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants add locally, and
  4. we show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art, sports, comedy, and more.