Economic & Fiscal Impact of Immigrants

NCSL Resources


Fiscal Impact

State lawmakers play an increasingly active role in immigration and immigrant policy in the United States, addressing an array of issues such as employment, law enforcement and public benefits.  State policymakers are also seeking credible economic and fiscal data related to immigrants in the labor force, the economy, and tax revenues attributable to immigrants at the state and local level. 
NCSL has been awarded a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to identify areas of needed fiscal and economic information and how to most effectively convey that information for a state policymaker audience.  The project will survey and convene state legislators and legislative staff from across the country to reveal knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in demographic, economic and fiscal data, and how to fill those gaps to better inform state legislators’ policy choices.

In 2013, NCSL prepared a snapshot of the demographics of U.S. immigrants, a chart listing national studies on the economic and fiscal impacts, a chart listening state level studies on fiscal/economic impacts, and a literature review of 21 studies of fiscal and economic impacts of immigrants at the state, local and regional levels. The fiscal studies typically examine income and sales tax contributions of foreign-born, compared to costs of education, health care and corrections. A few examine broader economic impacts such as job creation and business development of the foreign born.