Report on New Americans in San José & Santa Clara County Highlights Economic Contributions of Immigrants


Sarah Doolin, New American Economy,

Zulma Maciel, Strategic Partnerships and Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of San José,; (408) 535-8146

Silicon Valley Business Roundtable discusses local immigrant integration; new report shows foreign-born households bring billions to Santa Clara County GDP

Santa Clara County, Calif.Tomorrow, San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, the National Immigration Forum, New American Economy (NAE), and local business leaders will gather for the Silicon Valley Business Roundtable to discuss public-private partnership opportunities for immigrant integration in the region.

In advance of the discussion, NAE has released a research brief that examines the economic and demographic contributions of immigrants in San José and Santa Clara County. The brief shows that Santa Clara County’s 1.9 million immigrant residents–who account for roughly 38 percent of the area’s population–positively impact the local economy through their high rates of workforce participation, large tax contributions, and spending power.

“San José provides yet another example of a great American community that benefits from the talent that immigrants bring,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “This report shows how immigrants work in some of Silicon Valley’s most important industries, including manufacturing, scientific and technical services, and health care, strengthen the local tax base, and start businesses that create new jobs in the county and across the state.”

“San Jose is truly a city of immigrants,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “In fact, about half of our region’s small businesses and VC-funded start-ups were founded by immigrants. By embracing this entrepreneurial spirit and our collective immigrant experience, we will continue to see significant economic benefits throughout our entire community.”

“The San José Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce is honored to celebrate and recognize the positive impacts immigrants have on our business community and local economy,” said Matthew R. Mahood, President & CEO, San José Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Silicon Valley’s ‘secret sauce’ is our diversity and inclusiveness. The San José/Silicon Valley region is a living example of how economic strength and inclusive policies go hand-in-hand.”

The report, “New Americans in San José and Santa Clara County,” finds that in 2014: 

  • Immigrants in Santa Clara County contributed roughly $76.6 billion to the county’s economy through consumption and tax contributions.
  • Foreign-born households held $26.5 billion in spending power–more than 46 percent of the county’s total spending power–and paid $7.1 billion in federal taxes and almost $3 billion in state and local taxes.
  • Immigrants in Santa Clara County contributed $4.5 billion and $1 billion to Social Security and Medicare, respectively.
  • Immigrants make up 46.5 percent of Santa Clara County’s labor force, and are the majority share of workers in some of the county’s most important industries. For example, immigrants make up 59.4 percent and 55.6 percent of the county’s manufacturing and professional/scientific/technical services labor force, respectively.
  • Between 2010 and 2014, immigration to Santa Clara County increased the area’s total housing value by more than $10.4 billion.
  • The 12,375 international students enrolled in the county’s colleges and universities supported around 4,702 jobs and contributed $425 million in spending to the local economy.

This report is released in conjunction with the announcement that San José is one of 20 communities selected in the Gateways for Growth Challenge, an opportunity from NAE and Welcoming America that invited communities across the United States to apply for support for the development and implementation of multi-sector strategic plans for welcoming and integrating new Americans.

Read the full report here and check out other briefs in the “New Americans” series, which highlight immigrant contributions in Salt Lake County, Denver, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo.

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…