ALEXANDRIA, VA – Immigrants in the City of Alexandria paid $364.6 million in taxes in 2016, including $262.4 million in federal taxes and $102.2 million in state and local taxes, according to a new report by New American Economy (NAE), in partnership with the City of Alexandria Workforce Development Center and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. The report was released at a launch event hosted by Northern Virginia Community College and featuring speakers from the City of Alexandria, the local business community, and immigrant advocates.
In addition to their financial contributions, the new report shows the role that the immigrant population in Alexandria plays in the local labor force, as well as their contributions to the city’s recent population growth. Though they account for 28 percent of the city’s overall population, immigrants represent 32.3 percent the city’s working age population and 30.5 percent of its employed labor force. The report also shows that over half of the city’s population growth between 2011 and 2016 is attributable to immigrants.
“New Americans bring new ideas and energy to our city and provide a boost to our local economy through hard work and dedication. They come to our country with dreams of a better tomorrow for themselves and their children. They remind us that the United States has always been a melting pot, a place of refuge for those fleeing oppression, a place that embraces its huddled masses, and where diversity is a core value. Our city and our country are stronger with these new Americans,” said Mayor Allison Silberberg of Alexandria.
“The diversity of our community is a key strength when it comes to growing our economy,” said Ryan Touhill, Chief of Staff at the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. “Immigrants account for 34 percent of entrepreneurs in Alexandria and are active contributors to the cultural richness and economic vitality of Alexandria.”
“Attracting immigrants is a sound economic growth strategy that Alexandria was smart to adopt,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “The data tells the story—Alexandria’s immigrants continue to bolster the tax base and power local businesses as workers and entrepreneurs.”
“The City of Alexandria is a diverse and thriving community with a growing immigrant population in its midst. The data from the Gateways for Growth initiative will be instrumental in our work to ensure opportunity and access to workforce development services for all Alexandrians. It will also augment our service to businesses that are expanding and aspiring to enter Alexandria to harness the rich and diverse talent pipeline the City offers,” said Daniel Mekibib, Director of the Alexandria Workforce Development Center.
“The immigrant population is growing faster in Alexandria City than its total population. Who are these individuals? What are their career interests? This data will help us be more strategic with our workforce development investments,” said David Remick, Executive Director, Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council.
The brief, New Americans in Alexandria finds:
- Foreign-born residents paid $364.6 million in taxes in the City of Alexandria in 2016. Immigrant households earned $1.4 billion in income in 2016. Of that, $262.4 million went to federal taxes and $102.2 million went to state and local taxes, leaving them with $998.8 million in spending power.
- Immigrants were responsible for 52.0 percent of the total population growth in Alexandria between 2011 and 2016. Over those five years, the overall population in the city increased by 10.8 percent, while the immigrant population increased by 22.2 percent.
- Despite making up 28 percent of the overall population, immigrants played an outsize role in the labor force in 2016. Foreign-born workers represented 32.3 percent of Alexandria’s working-age population and 30.5 percent of its employed labor force that year.
- Immigrants are overrepresented among entrepreneurs in the city.Despite making up 28 percent of the population, immigrants accounted for 34.2 percent of all entrepreneurs in the city in 2016, generating $79.4 million in local business income.
- Immigrants play a critical role in several key industries in the city, including in STEM fields. Foreign-born workers made up 62.2 percent of all workers in construction, 48.3 percent of all workers in hospitality and recreation, and 41.4 percent of all workers in healthcare. They also made up 21.4 percent of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers.
- 40 percent of immigrants over the age of 25 had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016, and 19.2 percent had an advanced degree.
- Over one third of immigrants in the city—36.3 percent, or over 15,000 individuals— were naturalized citizens in 2016.
- Over one third—31.2 percent—of refugees aged 25 and above in the city held at least a bachelor’s degree in 2016. Ten percent held an advanced degree.
Alexandria is one of 44 communities selected for the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity from New American Economy and Welcoming America where local communities receive tailored research on the contributions of immigrants, direct technical assistance to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants, or matching grants.