New data shows the number of immigrant entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C. metro area grew by more than 11 percent in one year

Immigrants in Washington, D.C. paid more than $17.1 billion in taxes in 2017, a nearly $1.5 billion increase 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 Washington, D.C. metro area’s community and economy. The data shows that immigrants in Washington, D.C. are driving economic growth — there are more than 100,000 immigrant entrepreneurs in the metro area, a more than 11 percent increase from 2016. Immigrants are also major consumers who help power local businesses. In 2017, immigrants in the area held more than $43.6 billion in spending power, a more than $3 billion increase from 2016.

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 Washington, D.C. metro area include: 

  • Immigrants are driving Washington, D.C.’s business economy. In 2017, there were 103,989 immigrant entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C. metro area, a more than 11 percent increase from 2016. Immigrants were also 47.3 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs when compared to U.S.-born residents in 2017.
  • Major industries in the Washington, D.C. metro area depend on immigrant workers. Immigrants make up 23 percent of the area’s population, and they have an outsize impact on many industries. Immigrants in Washington, D.C. made up 49.6 percent of construction workers, 39 percent of tourism, hospitality, and recreation workers, and 37.9 percent of transportation workers. 
  • Immigrants help fill workforce gaps. In 2017, 82.6 percent of immigrants in the Washington, D.C. metro area were of working age, compared to 62.3 percent of U.S.-born residents, helping to fill employment gaps across industries.
  • Immigrants pay billions in taxes and hold significant spending power. In 2017, immigrants in the Washington, D.C. metro area paid more than $17 billion in taxes, a nearly $1.5 billion increase in one year, and held $43.6 billion in spending power, helping to fuel local businesses.

“Immigrants in the Washington, D.C. metro area play an outsize role in many of the businesses and industries driving growth,” said Kate Brick, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “As a result, immigrants are creating economic benefits for all members of the metro area.”

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 maptheimpact.org


Editor’s note: The Washington, D.C. metro statistical area encompasses the principal cities of Washington, DC; Arlington, VA; Alexandria, VA; Silver Spring, MD; Frederick, MD; Rockville, MD; Bethesda, MD; Gaithersburg, MD; Reston, VA. A full county list can be provided upon request.

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…