New study links immigration to greater economic growth

A new analysis of census data by the New York Times has found that "immigrants played a central role in the cycle of the economic growth of U.S. cities over the last two decades," and that "cities with thriving immigrant populations — with high-earning and lower-wage workers — tended to be those that prospered the most."

David Dyssegaard Kallick, director for immigration research at the Fiscal Policy Institute, a nonpartisan group in New York that conducted the data analysis for The New York Times, said that “Economic growth in urban areas has been clearly connected with an increase in immigrants’ share of the local labor force.”

The study found that the fastest economic growth between 1990 and 2008 was in cities like Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix that received large influxes of immigrants with a mix of occupations — including many in lower-paid service and blue-collar jobs.

“If you look at what feeds the core of many American cities, it’s the arrival of the immigrant groups,” said Anna Crosslin, president of the International Institute of St. Louis, a refugee resettlement and immigrant aid agency.

The study also challenged common assumption that immigrant workers are primarily in low-wage occupations. In 14 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas, including Boston, New York and San Francisco, more immigrants are employed in white-collar occupations than in lower-wage work like construction, manufacturing or cleaning.

Over all, the analysis showed, the 25 million immigrants who live in the country’s largest metropolitan areas (about two-thirds of all immigrants in the country) are nearly evenly distributed across the job and income spectrum.

Read the full study here...