New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan immigration research organization, has released new data on the economic role of immigrants in the State of New Jersey.
In NAE’s effort to quantify the impact of immigration on the state and local level, New Jersey stands out as an exceptional case.
For one thing, immigrants in NJ are much better educated than the national average. Almost 40 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to only 32 percent nationally.
Higher education translates into an extraordinary immigrant presence in STEM fields. Forty-three (43) percent of STEM workers in NJ are foreign-born compared to a national average of only 22.8 percent.
Immigrants are also a major presence in New Jersey’s healthcare industry. Thirty (30) percent of nurses, for example, are foreign-born compared to only 15 percent nationally.
Immigrants also fill jobs on the lower end of the occupational spectrum, e.g. 46 percent of health aides, 62 percent of hand packers and packagers, and 72 percent of maids and housekeeping cleaners.
Immigrants in New Jersey are not only seeking a better life for themselves and their families. They are also greasing the wheels of the entire economy, revitalizing communities, creating jobs for others, and filling state and municipal coffers with their tax payments.
In 2016, the 121,459 immigrant-owned businesses in New Jersey employed almost 400,000 people. Many of these businesses are bringing products and services to local communities, which might otherwise be scarce or missing.
The significant role played by immigrant entrepreneurs in revitalizing the “main streets” of New Jersey was a major theme of a report recently issued by New Jersey Policy Perspective, which found that 47 percent of main street businesses in the state were owned by immigrants.
At a time when state and local governments are struggling to balance budgets, New Jersey’s immigrants are paying $7.4 billion in state and local taxes.