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New Report Shows Immigrants in Passaic County Paid Over $1.3 Billion in Taxes and Held $3.6 Billion in Spending Power in 2019

Immigrants in Passaic County made up 47% of business owners and 32.3% of STEM workers

PASSAIC COUNTY, NJ, February 3, 2022 – New research, New Americans in Passaic County, released today by New American Economy—now the American Immigration Council—in partnership with Passaic County and William Paterson University Small Business Development Center (SBDC), underscores the critical role immigrants in Passaic County play in the community’s labor force, business creation, and STEM innovation. 

Between 2014 and 2019 the Passaic County population decreased by 0.5%, while the immigrant population grew by 10.1%. Without growth in the immigrant population, the total population in Passaic County would have decreased even more, by 3.3%. In 2019 alone, immigrants in Passaic County held $3.6 billion in spending power, and paid over $845 million in federal taxes and $491 million in state and local taxes. Despite making up 31.2% of the area’s overall population, immigrants represented 58.3% of manufacturing workers, 52.9% of transportation and warehouse workers, and 49.3% of construction workers. The overall population in Passaic County increased by 4.6% from 2010 to 2020. 

​​A special webinar will discuss the results and importance of “New Americans in Passaic County” on February 17, 2022 at 9:30 am. Contact: [email protected] for a link to the webinar.

The new report was awarded to Passaic County and William Paterson University Small Business Development Center as part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and/or technical assistance from the American Immigration Council and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities. Passaic County and William Paterson University SBDC will present the report at a virtual special event on February 17, 2022 at 9:30 am, during which community members will offer commentary on the report. Following the launch of the report, Passaic County and William Paterson University SBDC plan to widely disseminate the report to municipal leaders, civic organizations, and business groups in the County.

Passaic County’s Planning and Economic Development Committee and its chair, County Commissioner Cassandra “Sandi” Lazzara, will also work with local communities to navigate discussions and input.  

“Passaic County has a rich history because of our immigrant population. The invaluable contributions and diversity that our immigrant communities have offered and continue to offer is what has paved the way to our success and growth,” stated County Commissioner Director Bruce James. “The Board of County Commissioners is proud to continue our commitment in supporting our diverse population through the Gateways for Growth Challenge.”

“As this report makes clear, our immigrant population is an important economic engine for Passaic County, as well as contributing so much to its rich cultural diversity,” said Dr. Richard J. Helldobler, president of William Paterson University. “Through our Small Business Development Center and other initiatives, we are proud to partner with the county to support them and all who seek to contribute to the economic vitality of Passaic County. This work aligns with the University’s broader mission to educate the students who are changing the social fabric of our county, region, and all of New Jersey.”

“This report captures the crucial role that immigrants play in driving growth in Passaic County,” said Mo Kantner, director of state and local initiatives at the American Immigration Council. “By recognizing and harnessing the skills and talents of the county’s vibrant immigrant community, Passaic County is making an important investment in its future.” 

“Passaic County is an example for how communities can effectively harness the talent of immigrants to create greater prosperity for all residents,” said Molly Hilligoss, network director of Welcoming America. “We’re thrilled that the Gateways for Growth Challenge can be part of making Passaic County an even more welcoming place for the future.”

The new research report, New Americans in Passaic County, finds:

  • Immigrants are helping Passaic County meet its labor force demands. In 2019, immigrants made up 31.2% of the County’s overall population, represented 38.2% of its working-age population, and 40% of its employed labor force.
  • Immigrant households support the federal safety net. The foreign-born contributed over $504 million to Social Security and over $127 million to Medicare in 2019. 
  • Immigrants are helping Passaic County meet its rising labor in STEM and key industries. Despite making up 31.2% of Passaic County’s overall population, immigrants accounted for 32.3% of the region’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers, 73.6% of food manufacturing workers, 53.6% of essential services workers, and 39.9% 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 47% of business owners in Passaic County in 2019. About 8,800 immigrant entrepreneurs generated $214.2 million in business income.
  • Immigrants in Passaic 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 7,200 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere by 2019.

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…