North Carolina Economy Gets Help From Immigrants, Study Finds – Charlotte, NC Patch

CHARLOTTE, NC — Despite the ongoing and contentious national debate over efforts to limit immigration, North Carolina’s economy gets a boost from immigrants, a study published this week said.

The state has an immigrant population of 788,000 and ranks 21st in terms of the economic impact of immigration, the personal finance website WalletHub found.

North Carolina gets the nation’s 18th largest benefit from highly skilled immigrants and the 21st largest benefit from the size of its immigrant workforce and its international student population, the study says. The overall socioeconomic impact of immigrants in the state ranks 25th in the nation.

When it comes to international students, however, the Tar Heel state ranks lower on the list. It’s 37th in the U.S. when it comes to its population of international students, WalletHub found.

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Here are the top 10 states where immigrants have the biggest economic impact, according to the study:

  • California
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • Washington

WalletHub’s study draws on U.S. Census data as well as figures from other government agencies, education groups and immigration advocacy groups.

Some academic studies have shown that immigration, particularly illegal immigration, depresses wages for low-skill American workers. The Trump administration cited that argument last year as it has moved to slow immigration and prioritize the entry of skilled workers.

But the argument obscures the broader impacts immigrants have on each states’ economy, and the fact that many are pursuing higher-education degrees, experts told WalletHub. While immigrants may decrease wages in some fields, they also benefit employers and consumers by bringing down costs, said John S.W. Park, a professor of Asian American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“To simplify this dynamic, and to blame those low-wage immigrants, is to miss that essential point for self-serving reasons,” Park told WalletHub. “It’s to deny the extent to which we’re dependent on these folks and their labor.”

Patch Editor Noah Manskar contributed

Photo via Shutterstock

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