How immigrants affect the economy

Jacqueline Gutierrez, Reporter

The impact of immigrants on the U.S. economy is being measured by the New American Economy in a study from 2017.

The New American Economy is a bipartisan company that used data from the 2017 community survey to map the positive impact of immigrants in the United States, according to Sona Rai, the communications director of the New American Economy.

“They [immigrants] contribute in a sense what every population contributes. But, they [immigrants] might have specific characteristics. In general, it is often thought that immigrants from Mexico or further South come to get agricultural jobs. The famous thing about doing jobs that Americans won’t do,” said Michael Harvath, an economics professor at Bakersfield College.

On the New American Economy website, there is a tool called “Map the Impact” which allows users to view the impact of immigrants throughout the United States.

Immigrants make up 13.6 percent of the population in the United States with that being stated immigrants hold the spending power of $1.1 trillion, according to the New American Economy website.

In California, immigrants make up 26.9 percent of the population and the immigrant spending power is $282.2 billion, according to the New American Economy website.

In California, there are nearly 1.9 million citizens employed by immigrant-owned firms, according to the New American Economy.

The metro area in Bakersfield is part of the 21st district, which is represented by TJ Cox (D-Calif.), and the 23rd district, which is represented by Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

In the Bakersfield metro area immigrants makeup 19.8 percent of the population, or 176,930 individuals, of that number 9,743 are entrepreneurs, according to the New American Economy website.

In the metropolitan Bakersfield area in the age group, 16-64 82.8 percent of the population is foreign-born and in the same age group, only 58.7 percent were born in the United States, according to the New American Economy.

“Again, we look at what the demographic is doing [DACA recipients] in the situation a lot of the demographic is going to college. The short-run impact would be on colleges… there is less demand for college teachers. In the long run, if these people are going to college in 10-20 years they would be taxpayers. So, it would affect the budget of California,” said Harvath.

The New American Economy conducted this study in the United States because many people know that immigrants do help the economy and the impact positively impact Americans, according to Rai.

“What I’m observing is there is not one nice simple rule what do immigrants do to the economy and what immigrants do to the government deficit versus surplus. You got to think about what are the demographic characteristics. Are you talking about immigrants as a whole, immigrants who want free healthcare, or immigrants in their third year of college,” said Harvath.