City, New American Economy Release Report Showing Economic Power Of Immigrants In New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans joined think tank New American Economy (NAE) to release a report documenting the economic impact of immigrants in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Accounting for seven percent of the overall population, the foreign-born of New Orleans make an outsized contribution to the local economy through their high rates of entrepreneurship, large tax contributions and spending power, city reps said.

         “New Orleans is proud to be a welcoming city because we know that diversity is a strength,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This report underscores the invaluable contributions immigrants continue to make to our city and our economy.  I am proud to stand with mayors from across the country in calling for comprehensive immigration reform to help strengthen local economies and communities.”

         The report, New Americans in Greater New Orleans, finds:

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• In 2014, foreign-born households contributed $7.6 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Greater New Orleans metro area.

• In 2014, immigrants in Greater New Orleans paid $525 million in federal taxes and $196 million in state and local taxes. They also held $2 billion in remaining spending power.

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• Foreign-born residents of Greater New Orleans also support federal social programs. In 2014, they contributed more than $265 million to Social Security and almost $77 million to Medicare.

• In 2014, immigrant-owned businesses in Greater New Orleans generated $174 million in business income.

• Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants living in Greater New Orleans in 2014 helped create or preserve 4,285 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.

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• Foreign-born residents tend to have higher educational levels than U.S.-born citizens in the Greater New Orleans metro area. If the metro area retains one-half of its international students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees or higher, 458 local jobs will be created within six years, boosting the area’s real GDP by $114.6 million within the next 30 years, and increasing its population by 3,668 people within the next 50 years.

• In 2014, 92.8 percent of the foreign-born had been in Greater New Orleans for more than a year. In fact, 59,582 immigrants, or 64 percent of the metro area’s foreign-born population, have been in the country for more than 10 years.


         “New Orleans serves as a great American city benefitting from the talent and hard work of immigrants,” said John Feinblatt, chairman of New American Economy. “Immigrants not only help power local sectors like agriculture and construction, but also start businesses that create jobs both in the city and the state of Louisiana.”

         Julie Ward, director of Immigration and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, said, “Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans has worked with newcomers to our community since its inception. As they have for centuries, immigrants to New Orleans come here with a desire to invest in and belong to this community. These newcomers consider New Orleans home, and work hard to contribute to it. Our citizenship program serves hundreds of people a year, and there is always a long waitlist of residents who are eagerly and proudly applying for citizenship as well as permanent residency in order to become new Americans. Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans believes that immigrants – both newcomers and those who came generations before – are a critical piece of our community and offer important contributions.  We consider it a measure of our success as a community when we allow people of all backgrounds to thrive within it.”

         President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Mayra Pineda said, "HCCL is proud to actively promote the economic growth, development and interests of the Hispanic community in the Greater New Orleans Area and the State of Louisiana. It's no secret that the spirit of entrepreneurship and the impulse to succeed are prominent attributes of the Hispanic community and we have witnessed it first hand in New Orleans. Hispanic owned small businesses are the fastest growing segment of the national economy representing important contributions to economic development. HCCL is committed to help find new ways to give businesses better and easier access to capital, contract opportunities and increased capacity through education. "

         “The report today shows what New Orleans residents already know,” said Professor Bill Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. “Immigrants are our family members, neighbors, co-workers, and members of our faith communities.  But immigrant workers and family members live in constant fear. If they leave their homes to walk their children to school, if they go to the laundromat or the barber shop or the grocery store, they will be targeted for nothing more than looking Latino, and their families will never see them again. Catholic social teaching reminds us that all workers deserve dignity and all families belong together.”

         Audrey Stewart, managing director of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, said, “We look forward to continuing to work with the City and the people of New Orleans to expand services and policies for immigrant residents.”

         Read the full report here


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