New American Economy (NAE) released a study highlighting the economic and demographic contributions of immigrants in the county. Published in partnership with the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lancaster County Refugee Coalition, the brief shows that the county’s 23,094 immigrant residents have an outsize impact on the local economy through their high rates of workforce participation, large tax contributions, and spending power.
The release of the study coincides with the Lancaster Chamber’s annual “State of the County” event, at which local leaders examine the region’s current state of affairs and prioritize efforts to help the community prosper in the future.
“Lancaster County serves as yet another example of a great American community benefitting from the talent and hard work of immigrants,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “Immigrants not only help power key local sectors like manufacturing and healthcare, but also start businesses that create jobs both in the county and across the state.”
“The Lancaster Chamber is pleased to share the findings in the New American Economy study, as the facts and figures surrounding the economic impact of immigrants in Lancaster County were previously unknown. As facts and data replace speculation, our community can truly acknowledge and leverage the contributions and positive impact immigrants bring to our county,” said Cheryl Irwin-Bass, Vice President & COO of The Lancaster Chamber. “With the very serious workforce challenges the business community faces, the findings in this report will help us to more fully leverage every person in this county to assure a positive resolution for both individuals and businesses.”
“We are pleased and excited to share these encouraging statistics—as they reflect the assets and capabilities that refugees and immigrants bring to our vibrant Lancaster community,” said Stephanie Gromek, CWS-Lancaster, on behalf of the Lancaster County Refugee Coalition. “We are humbled and inspired by the level of welcome the local community has shown to these newcomers—and look forward to working together in welcoming refugees and immigrants to the County.”
The report, New Americans in Lancaster County, finds:
- In 2014,foreign-born residents contributed $1.3 billion to the GDP of Lancaster County. That same year, immigrants in the area contributed more than $62.8 million to Social Security and almost $16.4 million to Medicare.
- The foreign-born contributed $52.5 million in state and local taxes, $103.3 million in federal taxes, and held $440.5 million in spending power in 2014.
- Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants living in Lancaster helped create or preserve 1,062 local manufacturing jobs that would have vanished or moved elsewhere.
- If Lancaster retains one-half of its international students with bachelor’s degrees or higher after graduation, 98 local jobs will be created within six years, boosting the county’s real GDP by $19 million in 2014 terms within the next 30 years, and increasing its population by 766 people within the next 50 years.
- There are 438 students with temporary resident visas in the area enrolled in higher education courses. They supported 156 local jobs, and spent $21 million in Lancaster County during the academic year.
- Between 2000 and 2014, immigration to Lancaster County increased the total housing value in the county by $178.2 million. In the period after the Great Recession, 2009 to 2014, immigrants raised the total housing value in the county by $52 million.
Lancaster County is one of 20 communities selected in the Gateways for Growth Challenge, an opportunity from NAE and Welcoming America that invited communities across the United States to apply for support for the development and implementation of multi-sector strategic plans for welcoming and integrating new Americans.
Read the full report here.