Immigrants make the city of Little Rock rich beyond just cultural diversity. Their presence creates $2 billion for the state.
According to recently released research conducted by the New American Economy along with the Little Rock Regional Chamber and the City of Little Rock, foreign-born residents of the metro Little Rock area contributed $2 billion toward the Gross Domestic Product, $83.8 million in state and local taxes and $157.8 million in federal taxes, according to a May news release from the chamber of commerce. The report lists immigrants as anyone born outside of the United States, no matter their legal status, according to an NAE spokesman as reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The findings were presented April 30 at the Southwest Community Center in Little Rock that included testimony from local immigrants who have contributed vastly to the local economy.
Catholic Charities of Arkansas executive director Patrick Gallaher said it is the fourth in a series of reports released since 2010.
“The trend of each of these reports is consistent — the economic contributions of immigrants to Arkansas substantially outweigh any social costs,” Gallaher said.
The report showed that immigrants made up 4 percent of the Little Rock metro area population with 29,267. Those living within Little Rock city limits total 13,536, 6.9 percent of the city’s population.
Within seven years, starting in 2011, the population jumped by 5.2 percent with the immigrant population rising by 5.8 percent. The majority of immigrants are from Mexico with 34.4 percent, with all other countries of origin, including India, China and Guatemala, at 30.9 percent.
Some key contributions the immigrant population made in 2016 include tax payments to Social Security of $79.6 million and Medicare, $22.6 million.
Read the full story from the Arkansas Catholic: “Immigrants contribute more than $2 billion to LR area”