The economic impact of immigrants

As critics and advocates continue to debate the economic effect of illegal immigration, Matt points to this data:

Now, the Immigration Policy Center - in light of the upcoming Tax Day - are issuing a forthcoming reportby Stephen Moore, Senior Economics Writer at the Wall Street Journal and former director of Fiscal Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ohio University using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 Current Population Survey and other sources.

Moore and Vedder find that immigrants not only pay their own way in taxes, but play a hefty role in shoring up the teetering Social Security system, and provide a fiscal windfall to U.S. taxpayers by tending to come to the United States during their prime working years after the costs of their education and upbringing have been borne by their home countries.

Among the report's findings:

  • Immigrant Households and Businesses Generate Billions: In 2005, immigrant households and businesses paid approximately $300 billion in federal, state, and local taxes: $165 billion in federal income taxes, $85 billion in state and local income taxes, and $50 billion in business taxes.
  • Immigrants Pay More in Taxes Than They Use in Services Over Their Lifetimes: Depending on skills and level of education, each immigrant pays, on average, between $20,000 and $80,000 more in taxes than he or she consumes in public benefits.
  • Immigrants' Relative Youth Contributes To Social Security's Health: Current levels of immigration will provide a net benefit to the Social Security system of nearly $450 billion in taxes paid over benefits received during the 2006-2030 period-and almost $4.4 trillion during the 2006-2080 period. This is because 75 percent of immigrants arrive in the United States when they are in their prime working years (age 18 to 65). But the share of native-born citizens in their prime working years now stands at only 60 percent, and will decline rapidly over the coming decades as the Baby Boomers retire.
  • Immigrants Educated on Home Country's Tab: The roughly 26 million immigrants now in the United States who arrived when they were over the age of 18-after their upbringing and basic education were paid for in their home countries-represent a windfall to American taxpayers of roughly $2.8 trillion. The United States receives all of the tax payments made by these immigrants, while bearing almost none of the costs of raising and educating them.
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