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.
|Age Group||Foreign-Born Population Share||Native-Born Population Share|
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.
|People employed by immigrant-owned firms (2012)||7,996,327|
|Business income of immigrant-owned firms||$72.9B|
|Fortune 500 companies in Alabama founded by immigrants or their children||40.2%|
Nationally, immigrants earned $1.4 trillion in 2016 and contributed more than $117 billion in state and local taxes, as well as almost $262 billion in federal taxes. This left them with more than $1.0 billion in spending power. Immigrants play an important role contributing to their states' economies both as consumers and taxpayers.
|Immigrant Household Income||$1.4T|
|— State & Local Taxes||$117.9B|
|— Federal Taxes||$261.7B|
|Total Spending Power||$1.0T|
Nationally, immigrants are 9.2 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.
|Workforce Education||Foreign-Born Population||Native-Born Population|
|Less Than High School||28.9%||9.1%|
|High School & Some College||41.1%||59.3%|
|Taxi and Limousine Service||52.4%|
|Apparel Accessories and other Apparel Manufacturing||50.0%|
|Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing||49.9%|
|Nail Salons and other personal care services||48.1%|
|Personal appearance workers||65.5%|
|Graders and sorters||62.4%|
|Plasterers and stucco workers||56.1%|
|Sewing machine operators||51.8%|
|Maids and housekeeping||51.2%|
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.
|STEM workers who are immigrants||22.4%|
|STEM Master's students who are foreign nationals||29.8%|
|STEM PhD students who are foreign nationals||35.6%|
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. 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||9.5:1|
|Physicians who were educated abroad||26.0%|
|Psychiatrists who were educated abroad||32.5%|
|Nurses who are foreign-born (2014-2016)||15.2%|
|Health aides who are foreign-born (2014-2016)||23.7%|
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.
|Share of recent homebuyers who were foreign-born||13.9%|
|Housing wealth held by immigrant households||$3.5T|
|Amount paid by immigrant-led households in rent||$110.6B|
International students in the United States contributed more than $36.9 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2016-2017 school year and supported more than 450,000 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.
|Share of students at U.S. colleges and universities who are international students||4.9%|
|Economic contribution of international students||$30.7B|
|Jobs supported by international students||375,946|
Nationwide, the power of immigrant voters is likely to continue to be a large factor in upcoming elections. The sheer size of the country's immigrant voting bloc means it has the potential to powerfully impact which way states vote in national and state elections.
|Voting Power Stats|
|Immigrants eligible to vote||20,382,099|
|Immigrants registered to vote||11,930,641|
|Immigrants eligible to vote in 2020||21,900,447|
|2016 presidential election margin of victory||2,868,518|
The United States is currently home to an estimated 11.0 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.
|Share of undocumented immigrants, working age||90.0%|
|Undocumented immigrant entrepreneurs||778,539|
|Undocumented Household Income||$215.2B|
|— State & Local Taxes||$9.4B|
|— Federal Taxes||$15.9B|
|Total Spending Power||$189.8B|
Our analysis of the 1.3 million DACA-eligible individuals nationwide found that DACA-eligible people were contribution billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. But DACA, of course, gains more resonance when we look beyond the national picture. Every state in the country is currently home to hundreds—or in many cases, thousands—of DACA-eligible people. Clawing back the protections afforded to this group upsets community networks and schools, and can hurt local employers and businesses dependent upon Dreamers to serve as workers and customers.
|Number of DACA Eligible Residents||1,350,554|
|Share of DACA Eligible Population in Labor Force that is Employed||90.3%|
|Number of DACA-Eligible Entrepreneurs||37,813|
|DACA-Eligible Household Income||$331.4B|
|— State & Local Taxes||$24.1B|
|— Federal Taxes||$27.3B|
|Total Spending Power||$280.0B|
In the News
In the News
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…
September 17, 2018
September 12, 2018
August 27, 2018