Economic Impact of Immigrant Labor Graphic

Immigration 101: Economic Impact of Immigrant Labor


A lot of workers in the US - nearly 17 percent - are immigrants. Take them away, and the economy would tank.

When they join the workforce, they earn a paycheck and spend it on goods and services. That expands the economy. Unauthorized workers have $500 billion a year in economic output, according to estimates by the national bureau of economic research.

So what If all of those unauthorized workers were deported? The economy could lose big time - nearly $8 trillion over the next 14 years.

If they were legalized,the GDP would grow by $2 trillion. Why? One reason - they’d be paying more in state and federal taxes.  

But does foreign born labor take away jobs from people born here?

Several studies say no. In fact, immigrants can boost the wages of native born workers. And there’s this:

Immigrant workers are more innovative than native workers. Cities with the highest immigrant populations have the highest number of patents. It’s not that immigrants have some built in creativity, but it’s that their concentration in the science and engineering fields.

So as a whole, several studies including one by the National Bureau of Economic Research,  show immigrants positively impact the economy.


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