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The Economic Contribution of Immigrants

Article by Matthew Denhart February 1, 2013 //   2 minute read

In the wake of this week's re-election of President Obama, many people have been discussing the impact of the Hispanic vote on the election's outcome. A "Review and Outlook" editorial in today's Wall Street Journal points out that Governor Romney received only 27% of the Hispanic vote, down from the 40% of Hispanics who voted for President Bush in 2004. While the electoral implications of Hispanics and other immigrants are certainly interesting, the economic contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy are even more important. The WSJ editorial makes note of this saying, "Newcomers to the U.S. — legal or illegal — tend to be aspiring people who believe in the dignity of work and self-sufficiency..." The data bear this out. Below are two charts from my forthcoming immigration project. The first chart shows that immigrants constitute a growing share of the U.S. labor force, and the second chart shows that immigrants are employed at a higher rate than native-born U.S. citizens. Check back for more immigration updates soon. We will be hosting a conference in Dallas this December on immigration and publishing a series of manuscripts on the topic in 2013.