New Jersey’s Immigrants are a Huge Economic Driver

New Jersey’s immigrants are starting businesses, creating jobs and paying taxes.

Published on Feb 27, 2017 in Economic Justice, Immigrants' Rights

While undocumented immigrants in New Jersey now face greater threats from the federal government than they have in years, if not decades, new data at the state and Congressional District level released by the national organization New American Economy makes clear that the Garden State’s immigrants – both documented and undocumented – are an enormous economic benefit to this immigrant-rich state.

New Jersey benefits from its diverse immigrant population, with the third largest share of immigrants and half a million undocumented immigrants that contribute to the state’s economy.

New Jersey’s immigrants are contributing in major ways. We have more than 121,600 immigrant entrepreneurs who are generating billions of dollars in revenue and creating jobs for New Jerseyans everywhere. New Jersey is the only state where working-age undocumented immigrants start businesses at higher rates than legal permanent residents or naturalized citizens. In all, almost 270,500 workers in New Jersey are employed at an immigrant-owned business. And immigrants or their children founded 39 percent of the 19 “Fortune 500” companies based in New Jersey. These companies generate more than $133 billion in annual revenue and employ almost 600,000 people globally.

But New Jersey’s immigrants aren’t just contributing as entrepreneurs and job creators. They are also paying taxes – more than $13.1 billion in federal taxes and $6.5 billion in state and local taxes each year. And every year, New Jersey’s immigrants are also contributing to our entitlement programs – $2 billion to Medicare (of which $179.4 million is paid by undocumented New Jerseyans) and more than $7 billion to Social Security (of which $695.3 is paid by undocumented residents).

Other key findings::

  • Households led by undocumented immigrants in 2014 earned $9.7 billion; $432.2 million was paid  to state and local taxes and $731.8 million went to federal taxes, leaving these families with $8.5 billion in spending power that boosted the economy.
  • New Jersey is home to more than 1 million eligible voters who are immigrants, representing 17 percent of the electorate.
  • The average non-citizen in New Jersey earns $41,472 per year, earnings that could be boosted by 8 percent (an average of $3,318) if they naturalized.
  • New Jersey had an estimated 33,711 undocumented entrepreneurs in 2014 with a total business income of $621.9 million.

Here is some key data on New Jersey’s immigrants, broken down by Congressional District:

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