Immigrants and the economy in:


The roughly 250,000 new Americans living in Utah today are vitally important to the state. They serve as everything from livestock workers to entrepreneurs making them critical contributors to Utah’s economic success overall. Immigrants are also playing a huge part in ensuring that Utah remains a leading innovator in STEM fields like advanced manufacturing and data support.

  • 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 Utah, 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 18.3% 44.2%
25-64 72.9% 45.7%
65+ 8.9% 10.1%


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 Utah, like the country as a whole, immigrants are currently punching above their weight class as entrepreneurs.

People employed by immigrant-owned firm 31,224
Immigrant entrepreneurs 13,280
Business income of immigrant-owned firms $248.1M

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

Immigrant Household Income $5.2B
Taxes Paid $1.2B
State & Local Taxes $410.3M
Federal Taxes $784.8M
Total Spending Power $4.0B


Nationally, immigrants are 17.2 percent more likely to hold an advanced degree than the native-born. While Utah differs from the national education pattern, immigrants who are working in Utah still contribute to a wide range of different industries in the state—many of which are growing and important parts of the local economy.

Workforce Education Foreign-Born Population Native-Born Population
Less Than High School 29.9% 5.6%
High School & Some College 48.4% 61.9%
Bachelor's Degree 14.6% 21.7%
Graduate Degree 7.1% 10.8%
Top Industries with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Services to buildings and dwellings  34.9%
Traveler accommodation  33.5%
Animal production 32.8%
Landscaping services  31.6%
Medical equipment and supplies  30.8%
Top Occupations with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers
Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 45.5%
Miscellaneous Assemblers and Fabricators 43.1%
Carpenters 41.9%
Miscellaneous agricultural workers including animal breeders 39.4%
Painters Construction and Maintenance 37.6%

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 Vermont remains a leading innovator in STEM fields like advanced manufacturing and data support.

STEM workers who are immigrants 8.7%
STEM Master’s students who are foreign nationals 15.3%
STEM PhD students who are foreign nationals 33.8%


In the coming years, the American healthcare industry is projected to see incredibly rapid growth—adding more new positions from 2014 to 2024 than any other industry in our economy. In Utah, a state where one out of every ten residents is currently elderly, finding enough healthcare workers remains a challenge—and one that will likely worsen in the future. Immigrants, however, are already helping fill gaps in the healthcare workforce.

Open healthcare jobs to unemployed healthcare workers 13:1
Doctors who were educated abroad 12.9%
Psychiatrists who were educated abroad 14.6%
Nurses who are foreign-born 4.7%
Health aides who are foreign-born 10.4%


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

Immigrant homeowners 51,219
Share of recent homebuyers who were foreign-born 8.4%
Housing wealth held by immigrant households $10.9B
Amount paid by immigrant-led households in rent $36.1M

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 boosts innovation and patent creation. International students represent a small portion of all students in Utah, but they make a big impact.

Students at Utah colleges and universities who are international 3.7%
Economic contribution of international students $176.3M
Jobs supported by international students 2,190

Voting Power

Nationwide, the power of immigrant voters is likely to continue to be a large factor in upcoming elections. Given their modest numbers, immigrants may not sway presidential elections in Utah where Mitt Romney won by roughly 489,000 votes in 2012, but their votes may make a difference in closer statewide contests and primaries in the near future.

Immigrants eligible to vote 90,158
Immigrants registered to vote 40,011
Immigrants eligible to vote in 2020 102,133
2012 presidential election margin of victory 488,787

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 Utah, where undocumented immigrants contribute tens of millions of dollars in taxes each year.

Undocumented immigrants 106,279
Share of undocumented immigrants, working age 80.1%
Undocumented entrepreneurs 4,457
Undocumented Household Income $1.4B
Taxes Paid $143.4M
State & Local Taxes $56.6M
Federal Taxes $86.8M
Total Spending Power $1.3B

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