Immigrants in Dallas Held $5.4 Billion in Spending Power in 2016

Nearly a quarter of the city’s population, immigrants earned $7.9 billion in total income and contributed $2.5 billion in taxes in 2016

DALLAS, TX – Immigrant households earned nearly $8 billion in 2016 and contributed $2.5 billion to local, state, and federal taxes in 2016, according to a new research brief released by New American Economy in partnership with the City of Dallas. The report will be published at a roundtable event at the Dallas Federal Reserve on February 28, 2018, “Immigrants in Dallas: Demographic and Economic Contributions of New Americans.” Release of the report will be followed by a panel discussion with local experts, including Dr. James Hollifield of the SMU Tower Center; Dr. Pia Orrenius, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Laura Collins of the George W. Bush Presidential Center; and Luis Veras, a Dallas-based entrepreneur. The conversation will be moderated by Regina Montoya, Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty.

In addition to their financial contributions, the report shows the critical role the foreign-born population plays in the Dallas workforce. Immigrants make up a significant portion of several of the area’s most important industries, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), manufacturing and construction. Immigrants also account for nearly one-third of all entrepreneurs in the city. The more than 20,000 immigrant entrepreneurs in Dallas generated close to $496 million in business income in 2016.

The research also finds that immigrants eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are making significant economic contributions. More than 93 percent of the DACA eligible population in the Dallas metro area are employed, contributing $161 million in taxes and holding nearly $700 million in spending power.

The research was released as the City of Dallas embarks on a planning process bringing together leaders across sectors to develop a strategic plan to ensure thatDallas welcomes and harnesses the potential of all residents. Dallas was one of ten communities selected nationally through the Gateways for Growth award to receive research from New American Economy (NAE) and technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to support this work.

“In Dallas, we have long viewed diversity as a true asset. This report provides evidence showing that immigrants are a major part of our growing economic engine,” said Dallas mayor Michael S. Rawlings. “Accounting for over 40 percent of Dallas’ overall population growth, immigrants should be recognized for building businesses, laying down roots in Dallas and contributing meaningfully into their communities. It is remarkable that in 2016 immigrants generated $495.9 million in business income in the City, and about 20,405 immigrants worked for their own businesses. If the Congress concentrated on passing sensible immigration reform, the results for our community and communities throughout the country would be astounding.”

“While DC plays games on immigration, Dallas knows firsthand the economic benefits of embracing it,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “Dallas already grows its tax base and boosts local businesses by welcoming newcomers, and its strategy for attracting more immigrant talent in the years to come is sure to prove a sound investment.”

The brief, New Americans in Dallas, finds:

  • Immigrant households earned $7.9 billion in 2016. Of that, foreign-born households contributed $1.9 billion in federal taxes and $591.1 million in state and local taxes. They were left with $5.4 billion in spending power.
  • Immigrant households support federal social programs. The foreign-born contributed $847.7 million to Social Security and $218.9 million to Medicare.
  • Immigrant households support federal social programs. The foreign-born contributed $191 million to Social Security and $46.9 million to Medicare.
  • A quarter of the population, immigrants were responsible for 40 percent of overall population growth from 2011 to 2016.
  • Immigrants account for nearly one third of the city’s entrepreneurs. Despite making up 24 percent of the overall population, immigrants represented 32.2 percent of entrepreneurs in Dallas in 2016. The 20,405 immigrants who own their own business generated $495.9 million in business income.
  • Immigrants helped to preserve 14,617 local manufacturing jobs in 2016. Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce helping companies keep jobs local, by 2016 immigrants living in Dallas had helped create or preserve more than 14,000 manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.
  • The DACA-eligible population in Dallas contributed $161 in taxes and held nearly $700 million in spending power. In 2016, the 63,396 immigrants eligible for DACA—of whom 93.4 percent were employed—contributed $89 million in federal taxes and $72 million in state and local taxes, leaving them with $698.6 million in spending power.

Read the full research brief here.

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