Immigrants and the economy in:


Today, more than one out of every seven people living in Maryland were born in another country. They provide a young and valuable workforce to the state; in Maryland, almost 74 percent of the foreign-born population is working-aged, compared to roughly 50 percent of the native-born population. These new Americans serve as everything from medical scientists to taxi drivers, making them critical contributors to Maryland’s economic success overall.

  • 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 Maryland, 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 13.4% 35.2%
25-64 73.8% 50.9%
65+ 12.8% 13.9%


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 Maryland, like the country as a whole, immigrants are currently punching far above their weight class as entrepreneurs. Foreign-born workers currently make up 25.9 percent of all entrepreneurs in the state, despite accounting for 14.8 percent of Maryland’s population.

People employed by immigrant-owned firms 125,898
Immigrant entrepreneurs 62,218
Business income of immigrant-owned firms $1.8B
Fortune 500 companies in Maryland founded by immigrants or their children 25.0%

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 Maryland play an important role contributing to the state’s economy, both as consumers and taxpayers.

Immigrant Household Income $33.7B
Taxes Paid $9.1B
State & Local Taxes $3.1B
Federal Taxes $6.1B
Total Spending Power $24.6B


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. This holds true in Maryland, where immigrants play a particularly large role as painters, medical scientists, and taxi drivers.

Workforce Education Foreign-Born Population Native-Born Population
Less Than High School 20.5% 7.9%
High School & Some College 38.3% 54.5%
Bachelor's Degree 20.9% 20.9%
Graduate Degree 20.3% 16.6%
Top Industries with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Private households  52.6%
Services to buildings and dwellings  52.3%
Traveler accommodation  37.7%
Landscaping services  36.5%
Beauty salons  28.3%
Top Occupations with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Painters, construction and maintenance 63.4%
Maids and Housekeeping cleaners 62.0%
Medical scientists and Life scientists, all other 55.4%
Physical scientists, all other 46.9%
Taxi drivers and Chauffeurs 42.3%

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 Maryland remains a leading innovator in industries like biotechnology and defense.

STEM workers who are immigrants 24.6%
STEM Master’s students who are foreign nationals 18.1%
STEM PhD students who are foreign nationals 35.7%


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 Maryland, a state where more than one out of every 7 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 26.5%
Psychiatrists who were educated abroad 28.3%
Nurses who are foreign-born 23.4%
Health aides who are foreign-born 31.5%


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 Maryland, immigrants are actively strengthening the state’s housing market.

Immigrant homeowners 195,958
Share of recent homebuyers who were foreign-born 17.8%
Housing wealth held by immigrant households $77.7B
Amount paid by immigrant-led households in rent $207.9M

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 Maryland, but they make a big impact.

Students at Maryland colleges and universities who are international 5.1%
Economic contribution of international students $534.6M
Jobs supported by international students 6,824

Voting Power

In 2014, Maryland was home to more than 417,000 foreign-born residents who were eligible to vote—a group that made up roughly one in 10 of the state’s eligible voters. An estimated almost 271,000 foreign-born Marylanders had also taken the step of formally registering. Although few would call Maryland a swing state, the sheer size of the immigrant voting bloc here means it has a powerful impact on the way the state votes in both national and state elections.

Immigrants eligible to vote 417,057
Immigrants registered to vote 270,906
Immigrants eligible to vote in 2020 468,538
2012 presidential election margin of victory 705,975

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 Maryland, where undocumented immigrants contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes each year.

Undocumented immigrants 234,105
Share of undocumented immigrants, working age 81.5%
Undocumented entrepreneurs 15,962
Undocumented Household Income $4.1B
Taxes Paid $474.8M
State & Local Taxes $192.7M
Federal Taxes $282.1M
Total Spending Power $3.6B

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