MERCER COUNTY, NJ – A new report released today by New American Economy (NAE), in partnership with the New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition, the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mercer County, underscores the critical role immigrants in Mercer County play in the community’s labor force, business creation, and STEM innovation.
Between 2014 and 2019 the Mercer County population decreased by 0.4 percent, while the immigrant population grew by 9.8 percent. Without growth in the immigrant population, the total population in Mercer County would have decreased even more, by 2.5 percent. In 2019 alone, immigrants in Mercer County held $2.8 billion in spending power, and paid over $916 million in federal taxes and $415 million in state and local taxes. Despite making up 23.1 percent of the area’s overall population, immigrants represent 43.4 percent of construction workers, 43.2 percent of manufacturing workers, and 39.3 percent of professional service workers.
The new report was awarded to Mercer County as part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and/or technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities. The New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition, the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mercer County Office of Economic Opportunity will present the report at a special event on July 1, during which community members will offer commentary on the report. Following the launch of the report, the three organizations plan to widely disseminate the report to municipal leaders, civic organizations, and business groups in the County.
According to Nicholas Montalto, Coordinator of the NJ Business Immigration Coalition, the report “shines a light on what often goes unnoticed — the wide-ranging benefits that immigration has brought to almost all facets of life in Mercer County.”
Speaking on behalf of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, President & CEO Hal English said that the Chamber “has been privileged to work with talented and creative immigrants for many years. This report provides the larger context and shows the overall impact of immigration on the County.”
“Immigrants play a critical role in our regional economy,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “Through this report it has been gleaned that Mercer County foreign-born residents have injected a staggering $11.5 billion in total GDP to our Mercer County economy in 2019, and their positive impact on our region’s economic vitality cannot be overstated.”
“This report shows the crucial role that immigrants play in driving economic growth in Mercer County,” said Mo Kantner, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “Immigrants not only help power key local sectors like construction and manufacturing, but also start businesses that create jobs both in the county and across the state.”
“With this data, leaders in Mercer County have a strong foundation to deepen its inclusion of all immigrant residents — those in key industries and beyond,” said Christina Pope, Senior Network Director at Welcoming America. “By harnessing the full talents and potential of immigrant residents, the entire community of Mercer County benefits.”
The new research report, New Americans in Mercer County finds:
- Immigrants are helping Mercer County meet its labor force demands. As of 2019, immigrants made up 23.1 percent of the area’s overall population, represented 28.8 percent of its working-age population, and 30.7 percent of its employed labor force.
- Immigrant households support federal social programs. The foreign-born contributed over $373 million to Social Security and over $111 million to Medicare in 2019.
- Immigrants are helping the region meet its rising labor in STEM and key industries. Despite making up 23.1 percent of Mercer County’s overall population, immigrants accounted for 49.1 percent of the region’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers, 44.2 percent of essential manufacturing workers, 43.4 percent of construction workers, and 31.1 percent of healthcare workers — all critical industries that have been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Immigrants play a particularly significant role in the region’s entrepreneurs. Immigrants represented 37.5 percent of the entrepreneurs in Mercer County in 2019. About 4,700 immigrants worked for their own businesses, generating $144.2 million in business income.
- Immigrants in Mercer County help create or preserve local manufacturing jobs. Immigrants strengthened the local job market by allowing companies to keep jobs on U.S. soil, helping preserve or create 3,900 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere by 2019.
Read the full research brief here.