Immigrants and the economy in:


Connecticut is home to almost half a million people who were born abroad. New Americans in Connecticut serve as everything from software developers to metalworkers, making them critical contributors to the state’s economic success overall. They also contribute to the state as taxpayers and consumers. In fact, in 2014, immigrant-led households in Connecticut earned $18.9 billion dollars—or 13.9 percent of all income earned by Connecticuters that year.

  • Immigrant Residents

  • Immigrant Share of Population

  • Immigrant Taxes Paid (2014)

  • Immigrant Spending Power (2014)

  • Immigrant Entrepreneurs

  • Employees at Immigrant-Owned Firms



In the United States, immigrants are more likely to be working-age than their U.S.-born counterparts. This allows them to contribute to the U.S. economy and to entitlement programs as they work and pay taxes. This is equally true in Connecticut, where immigrants are far more likely to be of working age than the U.S.-born population.

Age Group Foreign-Born Population Share Native-Born Population Share
0-24 14.3% 33.8%
25-64 69.8% 50.8%
65+ 15.9% 15.4%


In 2010, roughly one in 10 American workers with jobs at private firms were employed at immigrant-founded companies. Such businesses also generated more than $775 billion in annual business revenue that year. In Connecticut, like the country as a whole, immigrants are currently punching far above their weight class as entrepreneurs. Foreign-born workers currently make up 21.3 percent of all entrepreneurs in the state, despite accounting for 13.7 percent of Connecticut’s population.

People employed by immigrant-owned firms 73,047
Immigrant entrepreneurs 36,028
Business income of immigrant-owned firms $1.1B
Fortune 500 companies in Connecticut founded by immigrants or their children 50.0%

Taxes & Spending Power

Nationally, immigrants earned $1.3 trillion in 2014 and contributed more than $104 billion in state and local taxes, as well as almost $224 billion in federal taxes. This left them with nearly $927 billion in spending power. Immigrants in Connecticut play an important role contributing to the state’s economy, both as consumers and taxpayers.

Immigrant Household Income $18.9B
Taxes Paid $5.1B
State & Local Taxes $1.8B
Federal Taxes $3.3B
Total Spending Power $13.8B


Nationally, immigrants are 17.2 percent more likely to hold an advanced degree than the native-born. They are also more likely to have less than a high school education. Uniquely, this allows them to fill critical shortages at both ends of the skill spectrum, from high-tech fields to agriculture, hospitality, and service industries. In Connecticut, immigrants play an important role in the state's economy from software developers, to metalworkers, to landscapers.

Workforce Education Foreign-Born Population Native-Born Population
Less Than High School 20.1% 7.8%
High School & Some College 45.1% 53.6%
Bachelor's Degree 18.6% 21.8%
Graduate Degree 16.2% 16.8%
Top Industries with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Services to buildings and dwellings  42.1%
Computer systems design and related services  40.2%
Landscaping services  33.6%
Private households  32.8%
Medical equipment and supplies  32.2%
Top Occupations with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Software developers, applications and systems software 57.8%
Painters, construction and maintenance 50.8%
Maids and Housekeeping cleaners 45.2%
Other production workers, including semiconductor processors and cooling and freezing equipment operators 34.9%
Miscellaneous metal workers and plastic workers, including milling and planing machine setters and multiple machine tool setters and layout workers 34.9%

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Between 2014 and 2024, science, technology, engineering, and math—or “STEM”—fields are projected to play a key role in U.S. economic growth, adding almost 800,000 new jobs and growing 37.0 percent faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. Immigrants are already playing a huge part ensuring that Connecticut remains a leading innovator in industries like healthcare and bioscience.

STEM workers who are immigrants 24.3%
STEM Master’s students who are foreign nationals 28.5%
STEM PhD students who are foreign nationals 40.0%


In the coming years, the American healthcare industry is projected to see rapid growth—adding more new positions from 2014 to 2024 than any other industry in our economy. In Colorado, a state where more than one out of every 6 people is currently elderly, finding enough healthcare workers remains a challenge—and one that will likely worsen in the future.

Open healthcare jobs to unemployed healthcare workers 5:1
Doctors who were educated abroad 30.0%
Psychiatrists who were educated abroad 35.0%
Nurses who are foreign-born 15.3%
Health aides who are foreign-born 29.5%


Immigrant families have long played an important role helping to build housing wealth in the United States. In recent decades, the more than 40 million immigrants collectively in the country increased U.S. housing wealth by $3.7 trillion. Much of this was possible because immigrants moved into neighborhoods once in decline, helping to revitalize communities and make them more attractive to U.S.-born residents. In Connecticut, immigrants are actively strengthening the state’s housing market.

Immigrant homeowners 116,343
Share of recent homebuyers who were foreign-born 16.5%
Housing wealth held by immigrant households $44.7B
Amount paid by immigrant-led households in rent $110.7M

International Students

International students in the United States contributed more than $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2014-2015 school year and supported more than 370,000 jobs through their tuition payments and day-to-day spending. Research has found that increases in the number of international students at American universities boost innovation and patent creation. International students represent a small portion of all students in Connecticut, but they make a big impact.

Students at Connecticut colleges and universities who are international 5.2%
Economic contribution of international students $396.8M
Jobs supported by international students 4,116

Voting Power

Nationwide, the power of immigrant voters is likely to continue to be a large factor in upcoming elections. While immigrants may not sway the outcomes of presidential elections in this reliably Democratic state—Barack Obama won here by more than 270,000—they may make a difference in closer statewide contests and primaries.

Immigrants eligible to vote 223,199
Immigrants registered to vote 151,817
Immigrants eligible to vote in 2020 249,997
2012 presidential election margin of victory 270,191

Undocumented Immigrants

The United States is currently home to an estimated 11.4 million undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom have lived in the country for more than five years. The presence of so many undocumented immigrants for such a long time presents many legal and political challenges. But while politicians continue to debate what to do about illegal immigration without any resolution, millions of undocumented immigrants are actively working across the country, and collectively, these immigrants have a large impact on the U.S. economy. This is true in Connecticut, where undocumented immigrants contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes each year.

Undocumented immigrants 129,884
Share of undocumented immigrants, working age 79.0%
Undocumented entrepreneurs 13,028
Undocumented Household Income $3.1B
Taxes Paid $397.9M
State & Local Taxes $145.2M
Federal Taxes $252.7M
Total Spending Power $2.7B

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