Today’s NY Primary: How Immigrants are Contributing in the Empire State

After rigorous campaigning in the Empire State, the presidential hopefuls watch as New Yorkers head to the polls today to vote in the state’s primary election. Clinton, Sanders, and Trump certainly hope to reign victorious on their home turf, especially since New York has the potential to award a large number of delegates—95 for Republicans and 247 for Democrats.

New York undoubtedly has a rich immigrant culture, with Ellis Island historically serving as one of the country’s main points of entry for immigrants coming to America. Today, immigrants represent nearly one in four people in the state, totaling more than 4 million.

Before polls close tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, learn more about the ways in which immigrants are contributing to the Empire State:


Between 2006 and 2010, 31.2 percent of business owners in New York were immigrants, even though they made up only 22.2 percent of the state’s population. During the same time period, all immigrant-owned businesses in New York generated more than $12.5 billion in annual income for the state each year. In New York City, the percentage of immigrant-owned businesses is even higher: In 2010, foreign-born small business owners made up 36 percent of all businesses in the greater New York City metro area.

Today, immigrants are starting more than two out of every five of New York’s new businesses.


In the near future, New York may need to recruit immigrants to address a projected shortage of medical professionals. By 2030, the federal government estimates that New York will be short more than 39,696 registered nurses, leaving almost 24 percent of RN positions vacant due to a lack of qualified workers. A physician shortage is also expected, but immigrants are already playing a significant role in filling these gaps: In 2012, roughly two out of every five physicians in New York had graduated from foreign medical schools.


Immigrants are also helping to boost home values in the state. For example, between 2000 and 2010, more than 6,716 immigrants moved to Bronx County. This influx added $6,716 to the value of an average Bronx County home, or more than $3.2 billion to housing wealth in the county overall.

STEM fields

A study by PNAE and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) found that for every 100 foreign-born graduates of an American Master’s or PhD program who remains in the United States to work in a STEM field, 262 jobs were created for Americans. Specifically in New York, this means a sizable employment boost: In 2010, 20.9 percent of STEM workers with an advanced degree were foreigners. Additionally, in 2013, over half of the students earning Master’s or PhD STEM degrees from New York’s research-intensive universities were foreign-born. In recent years, almost 70 percent of students earning engineering PhDs in New York were non-citizens. 

To learn more, check out our interactive map, which shows how immigrants impact state economies across the country.

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…