The number of immigrants in the United States has soared in recent decades. Their percentage in the population has increased from under 5 percent in 1970 to more than 13 percent in 2013. Today, immigrants are the largest percentage of the population in the United States since World War II, accounting for more than half of the labor force. Many immigrants report speaking English well.
Immigrants bring a wave of talent and ingenuity to the United States. In one 2011 survey of the top fifty venture-funded companies, almost half had an immigrant as the founder, and three quarters employed immigrants in top management positions. Meanwhile, immigrants earn a significant share of advanced degrees in fields like science and engineering. In 2009, foreign students earned 27 percent of the master’s degrees awarded in those fields.
Despite some misinformation, immigrants are an important contributor to the U.S. economy. They fill many low-wage jobs, contribute billions in taxes, and help keep domestic industry competitive. They also drive investment and job creation, and help revitalize areas that were once decaying. Immigrants also benefit their families by boosting their economic mobility.
Immigrants have made innumerable contributions to our nation, from teaching to helping children. Undocumented immigrants provide critical health care and educate future generations of Americans. But despite their contributions to the economy, their presence is largely invisible. Many of them cannot vote until they become citizens. Immigrants also bring with them many relatives, including U.S. citizens and legal residents.
Immigrants also contribute to the economy by improving productivity. Studies have shown that putting undocumented immigrants on the path to citizenship will lead to huge gains for the economy and all workers. As a result, legalization must be included in immigration reform discussions. These gains could be significant enough to reshape the country’s economy.
In addition to their contributions, immigrants pay taxes. According to the National Center for Immigration Statistics, immigrants contributed over $492 billion in federal and state taxes in 2018. In addition to paying taxes on their income, immigrants also pay property taxes on their homes. In fact, more than half of all undocumented immigrant households file income tax returns with an ITIN number.
Immigrants often research their destination countries and explore the opportunities available. They may study the language of the country they plan to live in and learn about employment opportunities. Some migrants travel to another country for economic reasons, while others migrate for asylum. Some migrants have been forced to leave their native countries. They are seeking a better life.
Although illegal immigrants are rare, they contribute to our economy. A large number of them pay taxes and work in vital jobs. Despite this, it’s important to note that a large number of immigrants have no Social Security numbers. This makes them less eligible for federal benefits than U.S. citizens. The average hourly wage in 2020 was $27 an hour.