New data shows Philadelphia’s immigrant household income increased by nearly $3 billion in just one year

Immigrants in Philadelphia paid more than $7.4 billion in taxes in 2017, an increase of $850 million from 2016

New York Today New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan research and advocacy organization focused on immigration, released new data highlighting the significant contributions immigrants make to the Philadelphia community and economy. The data shows that immigrants are crucial contributors to Philadelphia’s economy — the area’s immigrant household income was nearly $27 billion in 2017, an increase of nearly $3 billion from 2016. Immigrants are also supporting Philadelphia’s biggest industries as workers. Despite making up just 11.1 percent of Philadelphia’s population in 2017, immigrants made up 19.2 percent of manufacturing workers.

The research is part of NAE’s Map the Impact, an interactive map that quantifies immigrant contributions at the national, state, metro area, and congressional district levels, and across industries. 

Key findings for the Philadelphia metro area include: 

  • Immigrants are driving Philadelphia’s economy. In 2017, there were 46,337 immigrant entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia metro area. Immigrants were also 46.2 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs when compared to U.S.-born residents.
  • Immigrants pay billions in taxes and hold significant spending power. In 2017, immigrants in Philadelphia paid more than $7.4 billion in taxes, an increase of $850 million in just one year. Immigrants also held $19.3 billion in spending power, a nearly $2 billion increase from 2016.
  • Immigrants help fill workforce gaps. In 2017, more than 79 percent of immigrants in Philadelphia were of working age, compared to 63.4 percent of U.S.-born residents, and they subsequently helped to fill employment gaps across industries.
  • Major industries in Philadelphia depend on immigrant workers. Despite making up just 11.1 percent of Philadelphia’s population, immigrants make up 19.2 percent of manufacturing workers, 16.7 percent of tourism, hospitality, and recreation workers, and 16.5 percent of construction workers.

“This new data reinforces why Philadelphia’s efforts to welcome immigrants into the city’s social and economic fabric are a strategic move towards overall growth,” said Kate Brick, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “Immigrants are playing a critical role in Philadelphia’s economy, as taxpayers, workers in key industries, and entrepreneurs.”

Map the Impact shows NAE analysis of the latest data from the 2017 American Communities Survey. You can find the new version of the Map at

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…