Immigrants earn $100 billion in total income – nearly one-third of NYC earnings

Over 83,000 immigrant New Yorkers own businesses

Anti-immigrant federal policies could undermine City economy

(New York, NY) – With President-elect Trump preparing to take office, a new analysis by Comptroller Scott M. Stringer shows the scale of contributions that immigrants make to every industry in New York City, where they now account for roughly half of all workers in core sectors, including technology, finance, entertainment, and medicine.

“We have not just a moral imperative to be true to our values and stand up to anti-immigrant policies, but an economic imperative as well. The contributions that immigrants make to our economy are enormous,” Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “Religious bans, threats of mass deportations, registries—all are antithetical to our legacy as New Yorkers and Americans. We hope this data shows the extraordinary impact immigrants make in our City, and we hope it demonstrates why supporting New Yorkers, no matter where they’re from, is the right thing to do for our economy.”


Immigrants, defined as all those who were born outside the United States, comprise nearly half of the City’s workforce, with virtually every industry now relying on workers who were born abroad. The data show:

  • The City has 3.3 million immigrants, from more than 150 countries, making up 46 percent of New York City’s employed population and almost 40 percent of our City’s total population.
  • With more than $100 Billion in earned income, immigrants earn 32 percent of total earnings in New York City.


  • Immigrants are entrepreneurs: more than 83,000 New York City business owners are immigrants, as well as 54 percent of all self-employed New Yorkers.
  • Immigrants are hard workers: in New York City, immigrants are employed at virtually the same rate as U.S.-born residents – at 71 percent and 68 percent, respectively.
  • Immigrants are taxpayers: every year, immigrant New York families pay an estimated $8 billion in City and State personal income taxes and approximately $2 billion in City property taxes.
  • Immigrants are homeowners:  46 percent, or 451,000, of the City’s 991,000 homeowners are foreign-born.
  • Immigrants drive core sectors: roughly half of all workers in core New York City sectors, including technology (47 percent), financial analysis (44 percent), entertainment (54 percent), and medical (50 percent) are foreign-born.
  • Between the 1990s and 2000s, the number of immigrants with a graduate degree has jumped by more than 60 percent. Since the 1980s, the number of immigrants coming to NYC with a graduate degree has more than doubled.


“New York City is an international hub – and our economy relies on a worldwide talent pool. When immigrants are threatened, when their ability to live, work, and raise their families is compromised – our entire City pays a costly price. We must all keep standing up and speaking out, because no matter how long your family has been here, immigrants must be welcome in New York City,” Comptroller Stringer said.

To see the full analysis, which is based on data from the 2015 American Community Survey, please click here.