New Research shows immigrants were responsible for more than one-third of total population growth in America’s 100 largest metro areas

In Cincinnati, Birmingham, and Miami, immigrants generated more than 87 percent of overall population growth between 2014 and 2017

New York Today New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan research and immigration advocacy organization, released new data showing the significant contributions that immigrants make to America’s 100 largest metro areas. The data, which shows taxes paid, industries supported, and businesses started, is featured on Map the Impact, an interactive map that quantifies immigrant contributions at the national, state, city, and congressional district levels, and across sectors. In 2017, 85 percent of all immigrants in the United States lived in one of these 100 metro areas. This new data illustrates how immigrants contribute to the health of cities across every corner of the United States. 

Key findings include: 

  • Immigrants contribute to the stability of cities. From 2014 to 2017, immigrants contributed to nearly 33 percent of the total population growth in the top 100 metros. Immigrants helped reverse population decline in several metro areas including Detroit, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Albany, Baltimore, Memphis, and Dayton. Immigrants were responsible for 98 percent of the population growth in metro Cincinnati, 88 percent of the growth in metro Birmingham, and 87 percent of growth in metro Miami. 
  • Immigrants are an economic driver for some of America’s largest and most vibrant cities. The top three metro areas by total taxes paid and spending power were New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Immigrants paid $69.2 billion in taxes and had $162.3 billion in spending power in the New York metro area alone. In Los Angeles, immigrants paid $38.2 billion taxes and had $108.6 billion in spending power. In San Francisco, immigrants contributed $22.1 billion in taxes and $51.9 billion in spending power.
  • U.S. cities’ healthcare needs are increasing and immigrants are helping to fill the gap. 98 of the top 100 metros saw an increase in their population above the age of 65. As healthcare demands grow, immigrants are helping to provide much needed services. In metro El Paso, immigrant workers represented one in three healthcare workers in 2017. Close to 20 percent of healthcare workers were immigrants in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In the Baltimore metro area, immigrants were over 16 percent of healthcare workers. 
  • Immigrants are serving as critical job creators in cities across America. Between 2014 and 2017, the number of immigrant entrepreneurs grew by 7.7 percent across the top 100 metro areas, from 2.6 million to 2.8 million. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the number of immigrant entrepreneurs more than doubled; in Tulsa, Oklahoma, immigrant entrepreneurs grew by more than 60 percent; in Kansas City, Richmond, and El Paso, they grew  by more than 50 percent. The top three metro areas with the fastest growing number of immigrant homeowners were the Nashville metro area, Oklahoma City, and Charlotte, NC. 
  • Immigrants are raising city housing market values from Charlotte to Nashville. The top three metro areas with the fastest growing number of immigrant homeowners were the Nashville metro area, Oklahoma City, and Charlotte, NC. The total number of immigrant homeowners rose from 7.3 million to 8 million, an increase of 9.5 percent between 2014 and 2017. 22 metro areas saw the number of immigrant homeowners increase by more than 10,000 in just those three years. 

“Immigrants have always been the hard-working heroes of the American success story — and that has never been more true than now,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “As taxpayers, consumers, and job creators, immigrants are making invaluable — and irreplaceable — contributions to the cities they call home.”   

Map the Impact shows the latest data from the 2017 American Communities Survey. You can find the latest version of the Map at

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…