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New Report Shows A Quarter of STEM workers in Mecklenburg County Are Immigrants

Immigrants were responsible for nearly 30 percent of the population growth in Charlotte between 2012 and 2017

Mecklenburg County, NC – Immigrant households earned nearly $4.9 billion and contributed over $1.2 billion in taxes in 2017, according to new research by New American Economy (NAE) in partnership with the City of Charlotte. The report illustrates the impact immigrants have on the economy of Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte. The research will be released at the Charlotte Alliance Young Professionals luncheon, “Immigration and Economic Growth: A Competitive Advantage for the Charlotte Region,” featuring a presentation by Andrew Lim, Director of Quantitative Research for the New American Economy and remarks by Federico Rios, International and Integration Manager with the City of Charlotte’s Office of International Relations. Alexis Gordon, International Business Manager and Chief of Protocol at City of Charlotte, will serve as a moderator and Amanda Pickens Nitto, chair of the Charlotte Alliance Young Professionals, will preside.

In addition to their financial contributions, which include $527.6 million to Social Security and $140.8 million to Medicare in 2017, the report shows how important immigrants are for Mecklenburg County’s economy and workforce. Despite making up just 15.1 percent of the population, immigrants made up 16.4 percent of business owners in the county in 2017. Immigrants also play a major role in vital industries, representing 25 percent of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers, 44.7 percent of construction workers, and 26 percent of manufacturing workers. The report also shows how immigrants helped strengthen the local job market by helping to preserve or create 7,473 manufacturing jobs that would have either disappeared or moved by 2017.

In Charlotte, immigrant households earned $4 billion and contributed more than $1 billion in taxes in 2017. In addition, immigrants were responsible for 29.6 percent of the total population growth in Charlotte between 2012 and 2017, with the immigrant population increasing by 21.7 percent.

Charlotte was one of 14 communities selected nationally for the 2019 Gateways for Growth award to receive research from NAE.

“Immigrants play an outsized role in the economic life of our city,” said Federico Rios, Immigration and Integration Manager for the City of Charlotte. “Charlotte’s role as a new gateway city for immigrants benefits all of our residents. This report quantifies their immense financial contribution to our community.”

“As the region continues to grow, the demand for workers in industries like construction, STEM, and manufacturing will only increase. This report highlights the role immigrants play in the success of the workforce and economy,” said Kate Brick, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “In order to leverage these contributions, Charlotte will do well to continue to think through strategies to ensure it remains a welcoming city.”

Read the full research brief here.

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…