A study released by the group New American economy outlines the potential economic impact of immigrant in South Carolina.
The study showed there are about 252,000 immigrants living in the state, making up almost 5% of the state’s population.
Those immigrants combined have paid over $1 billion in taxes and had about $4 billion in spending power in 2014.
The study particularly highlighted their impact on the agriculture industry, a large part of the economy of the state. The agriculture industry brings in about $43 billion dollars annually.
Immigrant populations make up a sizable chunk of those who work in these fields. The 4th congressional district has the largest population of immigrants, and about 32% of immigrants work in the agriculture industry in that district.
Gary Spires with the South Carolina Farm Bureau says that many people are not willing to work in the sometimes extreme heat conditions associated with working in the agriculture industry, and that farmers rely on immigrant workers to do work that would not get done, otherwise.
“We worry we’re going to have labor shortages,” said Spires. “We worry that we’re going to have a harvest that is…it’s time for harvest and not have employees go in there and help harvest those crops.”
Read the full story from WACH TV: “New study shows economic impact of S.C. immigrants”