NAS Report Finds Immigration a Win for the U.S. Economy

September 21, 2016

Washington D.C. - Today, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released a new report, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, which takes a comprehensive look at the fiscal and economic impact of immigration. This new report confirms extensive data from the past decade which shows that immigrants and their descendants make valuable contributions to economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the United States. Immigrants complement the native-born workforce in important ways, and as the Baby Boomers age and retire, immigrants and their children will be key to supplying the new workers and taxpayers the U.S. economy needs. Overall, immigration has a positive impact on long-run economic growth in the United States, and the NAS immigration report shows that on the whole, all ships rise when immigrants are introduced into the workforce and U.S. economy. 

Some of the report’s findings include: 
  • Between 2015 and 2016, the estimated GDP growth due to contributions of immigrant workers amounted to nearly $2 trillion.
  • Immigration helps to slow the aging of American society, and labor force growth from 2020 and 2030 will “depend completely on immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants.”
  • There is little to no negative effects on the wages or overall employment levels of native-born workers. Any negative effects were small and were experienced primarily by other recent immigrants and those who did not graduate high school.   
  • The children of immigrants are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population overall. Thus, educating all children is an important investment that will reap large rewards for the nation in the future.
  • Everyone in the Unites States contributes to government finances by paying taxes and also adds to expenditures. However, while on average, first generation immigrants are more costly to governments than the native-born (mainly because they earn less and pay less in taxes), by the second generation, they are better-educated, pay more in taxes, and are strong economic and fiscal contributors.
  • Immigrants have also contributed to the reduction in the cost of consumer goods and services such as child care, food preparation, house cleaning and repair, and construction—meaning Americans spend less.

Ultimately, the NAS immigration report shows that, even without reforming our outdated immigration system, the contributions of immigrants are overwhelmingly positive and that America’s proud two-century-long tradition of welcoming immigrants is paying off. Also, while not noted in this report, the economic benefits of comprehensive reform would be significant.  The NAS immigration report should spur a thoughtful discussion on practical solutions to our outdated system—solutions that would allow the United States to realize the full potential of all immigrants who call America home.


For press inquiries, contact: 

Eric Gibble, American Immigration Council, 202-507-7509, [email protected]

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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