Do Immigrants Help or Hurt America's Urban Economies?

As Congress debates immigration reform, Richard Florida explains why more liberal policies could be a boon for America's cities by examining the connection between foreign-born populations and economic outcomes.
April 25, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"What is the connection between immigrants and the wealth of cities and metro areas? Are immigrants a drag on local economies, depressing wages and incomes, as some suggest? Or do metros with more immigrants have higher rates of innovation, economic output, and wages?", asks Florida.

Among the findings revealed by analysis conducted by Florida's colleague Charlotta Mellander:

  • The share of foreign-born people is closely correlated with higher wages and better economic performance of metros
  • Metros with more foreign-born people also have higher concentrations of high-tech industry and more venture capital investment

"The big picture is that immigration is a good thing for the American economy, and, judging from our analysis, a good thing for metros in particular, being associated with higher wages, higher incomes, and more high-tech industry, among other things," says Florida. "While we are unable to say whether immigration causes or reflects better economic performance, it is clear the two go together. These associations hold for foreign-born people overall as well for high-skill immigrants."

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Published on Thursday, April 25, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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