Thursday, September 16, 2021
"WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2021—The U.S. House and Senate on Friday approved $100 billion that would—through a process known as budget reconciliation—create a new pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the United States. While Congress debates the legislative text that will dictate who may qualify for this path to legal status, it remains crucial for the public to understand the broad range of contributions immigrants make to American communities.
The American Immigration Council has extensive data on the United States’ immigrant population and their contributions to America. The Immigrants in the United States fact sheet includes data on population size, occupation, and tax contributions, as well as data on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.
The Council’s fact sheet, Immigrants in the United States, shows that 14% of the nation’s residents are foreign-born, over half of whom are naturalized citizens. Nearly 75% of all immigrants, who come from diverse backgrounds across the globe, report speaking English well or very well. Immigrants make up significant shares of the U.S. workforce in a range of industries, accounting for over a third of all farming, fishing, and forestry workers—as well as nearly 25% of those working in computer and math sciences. The highest number of immigrants work in the health care and social service industry, with over 4 million immigrants providing these services.
The fact sheet also reveals that immigrants in the United States made up 17% of the nation’s labor force in 2018 and contributed $308.6 billion in federal taxes and $150 billion in state and local taxes. As consumers, immigrants spent $1.2 trillion on the United States’ economy in 2018. Immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States accounted for 21% of all self-employed U.S. residents and generated $84.3 billion in business revenue in 2018.
As of March 2020, the United States was home to 643,560 active DACA recipients, and 49% of DACA-eligible immigrants in the nation had applied for DACA. Recipients of DACA and those meeting the eligibility requirements for DACA paid an estimated $1.7 billion in combined state and local taxes in 2018.
Undocumented immigrants comprised 3% of the United States’ total population and 5% of the nation’s workforce in 2016. Undocumented immigrants in the United States paid an estimated $20.1 billion in federal taxes and $11.8 billion in combined state and local taxes in 2018.
An infographic on the contributions immigrants make to American communities is available here.
Drawing from U.S. Census data and other sources, the Council developed 50 state fact sheets that provide the latest demographic and economic contributions of immigrants in each U.S. state and can be accessed here.
In addition, the American Immigration Council has extensive data on California’s immigrant population and their contributions to the state. The California state fact sheet includes data on population size, occupation, and tax contributions, as well as data on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients in the state. The Council’s fact sheet, Immigrants in California, shows that immigrants account for over one quarter of California’s population and comprise a staggering 33% of the labor force. Approximately 74% of all workers in farming, fishing, and forestry are immigrants, as are 59% of building and grounds cleaning and maintenance employees.