Immigrants boost New York's economy, according to study

Feb 2, 2018

New York’s economy benefits from immigrants more than any other state, according to a new national study.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, analyzed 19 metrics and assigned each state a score based on  the economic impact of immigrants. New York topped the list, followed by California and New Jersey.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez
Credit Wallethub

The data weighed included immigrants’ household incomes, the number of jobs created by international students and their contributions to innovation.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told WBFO one key metric in the study involves the number immigrants working in STEM fields -- science, technology, education and math. New York is ranked first in the percentage of immigrant STEM workers.

“In New York in particular, about a third of STEM workers are actually immigrants,” Gonzalez said. “So obviously, [immigrants are] contributing in major ways and really adding to that median household income of immigrants in New York, which is now around $53,000.”

International students also play a large role in New York’s economy. When it comes to the per capita economic contribution of international students, New York ranks third in the nation. Revenues are derived from tuition, housing, dining, retail spending, transportation, telecommunications, and health insurance.

The presence of  a robust international student population also increases the demand for teachers.

“When we’re looking at jobs created directly or indirectly by students’ financial contributions, it usually has to do at the university level,” Gonzalez noted. “More professors hired, higher salaries for professors, better benefits.”

Western New York’s economy clearly benefits from immigrants, Gonzalez said.

“Although this study focuses at the state level to really look at economic contribution statewide, there are certainly pockets of Western New York that have seen quite a significant boost from immigration, particularly in STEM.”

Data used to create the ranking was gleaned from several government sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Department of Labor.