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Immigrants and the economy in:

Buffalo Metro Area

  • Immigrant Residents

    69,058
  • Immigrant Share of Population

    6.1%
  • Immigrant Taxes Paid (2016)

    $629.0M
  • Immigrant Spending Power (2016)

    $1.4B
  • Immigrant Entrepreneurs

    2,806

Demographics

Similar to the United States as a whole, immigrants in most cities are more likely to be of working age—defined as being between the ages of 25 and 64—than the native-born population. This allows them to contribute to U.S. entitlement programs and also assume roles helping seniors as they age.

Age Group Foreign-Born Population Share Native-Born Population Share
0-15 9.2% 18.6%
16-64 70.7% 64.9%
65+ 20.1% 16.4%

Population Growth in the Great Lakes Region

Immigrants accounted for half of population growth in the Great Lakes region between 2000 and 2015. In nine of the top 25 metros in the region, immigrants offset population decline. Learn more in our report, New Americans and a New Direction: The Role of Immigrants in Reviving the Great Lakes Region.

U.S.-born -5.9%
Foreign-born 51.1%
Total -3.4%

Workforce

Nationally, immigrants are 17.2 percent more likely to hold a graduate degree than natives. They are also more likely to have less than a bachelor’s degree. This allows immigrants to fill positions at the high and low ends of the skill spectrum. Without immigrants, these positions might remain unfilled, hurting local businesses and leading employers to relocate elsewhere. Here, we show the educational attainment of immigrants in this metro area and the five industries where they make up the largest share of workers.

Workforce Education Foreign-Born Population Native-Born Population
Less Than High School 20.2% 8.3%
High School & Some College 41.2% 61.8%
Bachelor's Degree 17.3% 17.0%
Graduate Degree 21.3% 12.9%
8.0% Educational Services
7.3% Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation
6.7% Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting
6.6% General Services
6.5% Health Care and Social Assistance

Voting Power

Nationally, there are more than 20 million immigrants that are eligible to vote—a group that could have a particularly important role in coming election cycles, given the narrow margins of victory that have decided presidential elections in recent years.

Eligible Immigrant Voters, 2016 33,593

Home Ownership

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 local communities and make them more attractive to U.S.-born residents.

Between 2000 and 2015, the number of U.S.-born homeowners slipped 0.6 percent. But in the Great Lakes region, the number of foreign-born homeowners actually increased by 36.5 percent. See more data about cities in the Great Lakes region here.

Number of Homes Owned by Immigrants, 2016 14,862
Percent Change in Foreign-born Home Ownership, 2000-2015 3.8%

Taxes & Spending Power

Nationally, immigrants contribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal income taxes as well as state and local taxes. After paying taxes, immigrants still have significant economic clout, to the sum of nearly $1 trillion in spending power. Immigrants play an important role contributing to local economies both as consumers and taxpayers.

Immigrant Household Income $2.1B
Taxes Paid $629.0M
State & Local Taxes $225.7M
Federal Taxes $403.3M
Total Spending Power $1.4B

Entrepreneurship

Immigrants nationally are 28 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs than natives. In 2010, roughly one in 10 American workers with jobs at private firms were employed at immigrant-founded companies. Immigrants similarly play an important role as entrepreneurs in this metro area.

The number of immigrant entrepreneurs in the Great Lakes region grew by more than 120,000 between 2000 and 2015, while fewer U.S.-born residents took the risk of starting their own businesses. By 2015, more than one out of every 10 entrepreneurs in the region was foreign-born. Immigrants also made up more than one out of every five of the region’s Main Street business owners, operations that created nearly 240,000 working-class jobs for U.S.-born workers between 2000 and 2015 alone. Learn more in our report on the Great Lakes region.

How many immigrant entrepreneurs reside in this metro area? 2,806
How much more likely are immigrant residents to be entrepreneurs than native-born residents? 28.7%
U.S.-born Foreign-born
-1.7% 51.6%

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…