New research from New American Economy shows that immigrants are responsible for more than 26 percent of the Houston metro area’s GDP. The report, which analyzes Census data from 2016, looks at immigrant contributions to Houston’s workforce, tax base, and major industries.
The report shows that immigrants in Houston contribute billions in taxes each year, including $9.2 billion in federal taxes and $3.5 billion in state and local taxes. The foreign-born also play an essential role in bolstering the Houston workforce. Though Houston’s foreign-born residents make up 23.3 percent of the metro’s overall population, they represent 30 percent of its working-age population and 30.6 percent of its employed labor force. Immigrants in Houston also help fill labor shortages in the Houston market and support key industries. More than fifty percent of construction workers are foreign-born, and 31.9 percent of workers in manufacturing are foreign-born. And Texas currently faces a shortage in STEM workers across the state — there are more than 13 open positions for every one unemployed worker. Meanwhile, immigrants account for more than a third of Texas’ STEM workers.