The number of new refugees resettling in Syracuse dropped 72 percent between 2016 to 2017, according to recently published data from New York state.
This large drop could have wide-ranging economic effects on the area, experts say.
Onondaga County has become home to 9,954 refugees in the last 11 years, according to data from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. And from Burma to Syria, people of different walks of life have settled in Syracuse, particularly on the city’s North Side. Those refugees have helped support the regional economy, studies show.
“Refugee resettlement has really stemmed that population decline, and has kept the number steady and growing,” said Shelly Callahan, executive director of Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, a social services organization in Utica. “To have economic growth, you need people. Refugee settlements have favorably influenced economic growth and recovery.”
In 2014, the refugee population increased 42.5 percent in Syracuse, according to a study conducted by the New American Economy for CenterState CEO and the International Institute of Buffalo in 2017.
And, according to a 2016 study conducted by the Center for American Progress and the Fiscal Policy Institute, immigrants and refugees have contributed toward the economic growth of Syracuse.
In 2014, state and local taxes decreased about $93.9 million and federal taxes decreased about $140.4 million, which contributed up to $1.7 billion for the country’s GDP, the report stated.
With the increase in population, there was an increase in the labor force. The New American Economy study showed that about 1,877 local jobs would have disappeared by 2014 if refugees did not occupy them.
“Refugees have higher labor force participation rate than U.S.-born (workers),” said Cyierra Roldan, a policy analyst at the Fiscal Policy Institute. “They are filling open jobs, adding workforce.”
Read the full story from The Daily Orange: “Drop in refugee resettlement could affect Syracuse economy”