New Study on Buffalo and Syracuse Shows the Economic Power of Immigrants

In 2014, foreign-born residents contributed $3.1 billion to GDP of Buffalo, NY, $1.7 billion to the GDP of Syracuse, NY

Upstate, NY – Today, New American Economy (NAE) released a report documenting the critical impact immigrants have on the Upstate economies of Buffalo and Syracuse through their contribution to population growth, high rates of workforce participation, large tax contributions, and spending power. This report was released in conjunction with the launch of Map the Impactan NAE campaign to highlight the power of immigrants in communities across the country through state- and sector-specific data available for every congressional district in the nation.

“Immigrants help power the American economy,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “Across Upstate New York, New Americans are driving economic growth by contributing millions in state and local taxes, starting small businesses, and revitalizing Main Street.”

See key findings for New Americans in Buffalo and Syracuse below.

Buffalo:

  • Between 2000 and 2014, immigrants and refugees helped offset population decline—while the U.S.-born population declined by 4.9 percent, the foreign-born population grew by 32.3 percent.
  • Foreign-born residents in Buffalo contributed $3.1 billion to the metro area’s GDP in 2014.
  • In 2014, foreign-born households contributed $408.7 million in federal taxes, and $223.3 million in state and local taxes. They also held $1.4 billion in spending power.
  • Foreign-born residents also support federal social programs. In 2014, foreign-born residents in metro Buffalo contributed $146.4 million to Social Security and $42.1 million to Medicare.
  • There are 2,691 foreign-born entrepreneurs in Buffalo, and their businesses generated $121 million in business income in 2014.
  • Between 2000 and 2014, the increase in the foreign-born population raised the total housing value in metro Buffalo by $964.5 million.
  • Because of the role foreign-born residents play in the workforce helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, the foreign-born residents in metro Buffalo had helped create or preserve 3,116 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.

“It is easy to see the positive economic impact that immigrants and refugees bring to Western New York with regard to neighborhoods, workforce, entrepreneurial activities and so much more,” stated Eva Hassett, executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo. “This data substantiates the positive things we see in Buffalo every single day.  Going forward, we need to advance a regional economic development strategy that seeks to maximize that impact.”

Syracuse:

  • In 2014, foreign-born residents in Syracuse contributed $1.7 billion to the metro area’s GDP.
  • The foreign-born population contributed $140.4 million in federal taxes and $93.9 million in state and local taxes, in 2014, and held $607.8 million in spending power.
  • In 2014, foreign-born residents in Syracuse contributed $89.2 million to Social Security and $22.4 million to Medicare.
  • Between 2000 and 2014, the increase in the foreign-born population raised the total housing value in metro Syracuse by $406.5 million.
  • In Syracuse, the 1,681 foreign-born entrepreneurs generated $22.3 million in business income in 2014.
  • By 2014, the 40,815 foreign-born residents in metro Syracuse had helped create or preserve 1,877 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.

“Refugees and immigrant populations are economically important to Central New York as they contribute to the local labor force, and to the tax base as the region battles population loss. They also help reduce rates of vacancy in the housing market, creating a stabilizing effect to the issues of urban and rural blight,” said Dominic Robinson vice president of Economic Inclusion at CenterState CEO. “As Central New York business leaders seek to participate in global markets and compete with other regions for talent, the rich cultural diversity created by refugees and immigrants helps foster greater global fluency and connections, resulting in a competitive advantage for the region.”

Read the full report here.

Buffalo and Syracuse are included in a group 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 research and technical assistance to support strategies for welcoming and integrating new Americans.

About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. NAE members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. NAE members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.NewAmericanEconomy.org.

About the International Institute of Buffalo

Since 1918 the International Institute of Buffalo (IIB) has been making Western New York a better place for, and because of, refugees and immigrants. Today the Institute provides critical services to refugees and immigrants, while promoting global understanding and connections throughout the WNY community.  IIB offers refugee resettlement and employment programs; provides services to survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking; translation and interpretation services; global education programs for students, adults and businesses, and two international visitors’ leadership programs.  Living out Buffalo’s reputation as the City of Good Neighbors, our welcoming program assists in building understanding across communities.

 About CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is an independent and forward thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. We serve as an advocate and resource for smart business, catalyze and facilitate regional growth, and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving. www.centerstateceo.com

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…