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New Study Shows the Economic Power of Immigrants in Los Angeles

In 2014, foreign-born residents contributed $232.9 billion to LA County’s GDP; held $70.7 billion in spending power in LA County and $28.8 billion in City of LA.

Los Angeles, CA – Today, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gary Toebben held a press conference to highlight the economic contributions of immigrants in Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles.  The event marks the release of a New American Economy (NAE) report documenting the impact immigrants have on the local economy through their high rates of workforce participation, large tax contributions, and spending power.

“Immigration is at the heart of L.A.’s story, and this report shows the numbers behind what we see and feel in our city every day: People from all over the world are a driving force in an economic resurgence that has seen us create 146,000 new jobs and register 170,000 businesses over the last three years,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “L.A. became one of the world’s great cities by embracing immigration and diversity, and we’ll continue supporting anyone who wants to work hard and invest in our future—no matter who they are, where they come from, or what language they speak.”

“From entertainment to innovation to education and small business, our economy is stronger and our communities are better because immigrants are a part of them,” said Gary Toebben, president & CEO, L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce. “Today, we are grateful to New American Economy for working with us to assemble this informative, insightful report that highlights key data for L.A. and serves as a valuable resource in addressing the economic impact of L.A. area immigrants.”

“The New Americans in Los Angeles report proves what we’ve been saying for decades, that immigrants have played a vital role and continue to shape the present and future of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who chairs the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Immigrant Affairs. “It is important that we tell our truths in order to offset the political rhetoric that aims to discredit our communities. Immigrants are the future of our great City and will always be welcomed in the City of Angels.”

“Immigration helps power the American economy,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “L.A.’s immigrants not only power key local sectors like construction and transportation, but also start businesses that create jobs up and down the state of California.”

The report, New Americans in Los Angeles, finds:

  • In 2014, foreign-born residents in Los Angeles County contributed $232.9 billion to the county’s GDP, with $95.3 billion from Hispanic immigrants; $81.7 billion from Asian immigrants; and $55.9 billion from other foreign-born groups.
  • In 2014, immigrants made up more than half–51.5 percent–of Los Angeles County’s self-employed workers and they generated $7.2 billion in business income. That year in the City of Los Angeles, immigrants accounted for 53.6 percent of the city’s self-employed workers and their businesses generated $3.5 billion dollars.
  • In 2014, a vast majority of the foreign born in Los Angeles had lived in the United States for more than a decade, making up 80.7 percent of the foreign born in the county and 79.3 percent in the city, respectively.
  • In 2014, foreign born residents contributed $17.3 billion in federal taxes in the county and $6.9 billion in the city, as well as $7.9 billion in state and local taxes in the county and $3.2 billion in city.
  • While 34.6 percent of the population, immigrants made up 43.2 percent of the employed labor force and 41.1 percent of the area’s working-age population in Los Angeles County. In the City of Los Angeles, while 37.8 percent of the overall population, immigrants made up 46.7 percent of the employed labor force and 44.8 percent of the working age population.

Read the full report here.

Los Angeles 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.

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…