New Study Examines Economic Benefits of Refugees

“While refugees receive initial assistance upon arriving…they see particularly sharp income increases in subsequent years.” – NAE   (Photo credit: Winnebago County Literacy Council)

When conversation about refugees begins, it generally centers on safety and security. Less talked about – and just as, if not more important – are the benefits refugees bring to American communities, especially in terms of local economies. A June 2017 report by New American Economy examines exactly that.

On its website, New American Economy notes that it “brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today.” New American Economy members include the mayors of more than 35 million people and leaders of companies that “generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing.”

According to New American Economy, more than 3.4 million refugees have made the United States home since 1975. They pay taxes, purchase new homes, and even found businesses that create jobs. The 2017 report highlights multiple cities that owe some positive growth to refugee and immigrant communities: Bosnians in St. Louis, Somalis in Minneapolis, work-seeking refugees in Louisville who reinvigorated a slumping manufacturing economy.

New American Economy’s report, “From Struggle to Resilience,” is available here: Although the prevailing idea about refugees is how much they may cost to bring in, just a few minutes spent skimming the infographics and statistics, and it’s easy to see how refugees don’t strain local economies across the United States. Rather, refugees help sustain them.


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