New Americans in Northern Virginia

Read the Brief: New Americans in Northern Virginia
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New research from New American Economy shows that immigrant households contributed nearly $60 billion to Northern Virginia’s economy. The new report, New Americans in Northern Virginia, was prepared in partnership with Northern Virginia Regional Commission and Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

The report, released at the 2020 Shape of Region Conference, is a comprehensive picture of new Americans in Northern Virginia. It highlights the size and rapid growth in the immigrant population in the region and their impact on the local economy including injecting more money into local businesses, property markets, and municipal budgets as consumers, homebuyers, and taxpayers.

Key findings include: 

  • Immigrants who settle in Northern Virginia are well educated and bring with them varying levels of work and educational experience. ​ In 2013 – 2017, 44.5 percent of immigrants in Northern Virginia age 25 and older had at least a bachelor’s degree and 20.9 percent had an advanced degree, either a master’s, professional or doctoral degree. This is much higher than the proportion of immigrants with a bachelor’s degree or higher in the U.S. at 31.2 percent.
  • Immigrants are job creators. In Northern Virginia, immigrant entrepreneurs – those who work for their own businesses, incorporated or not – are making their mark locally. In total, there were 47,837 immigrant entrepreneurs or 42.5 percent of all entrepreneurs in the region.
  • Northern Virginia’s immigrant population is well-suited to maintaining and expanding the region’s labor force. In Northern Virginia, less than two-thirds, or 61.6percent of the U.S.-born population are of working age—between 16 and 64 years old, the range considered to be working age by the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, more than four out of five, or 83.9 percent of the immigrant population in the region are of working age. While immigrants make up 27.4 percent of the overall population, they make up 34.0 percent of the region’s working-age population.
  • Immigrants are driving population growth in Northern Virginia. Of the 238,000 people who settled in Northern Virginia between 2008 – 2012 and 2013-2017, almost 109,000 were immigrants. The number of immigrants grew from 561,285 in 2008 – 2012 to 670,272 in 2013-2017, an increase of 19.4 percent, accounting for 27.4 percent of the overall population.
  • Immigrants in Northern Virginia have above average rates of naturalization. More than half, or 51.3 percent, of all immigrants in the region have earned their U.S. citizenship, a rate higher than the national average of 48 percent.

Read the full report here.

About Us

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…