5 Myths About How Immigrants Affect the U.S. Economy

Immigration is a hot topic in today’s world. There’s a lot of conflicting information flowing around about immigrants and their impact on the economy. Let’s go over some facts as we clear up 5 myths about how immigrants affect the U.S. economy right here:

Myth #1: Immigrants Decrease Average Wages

Some people claim that immigrants force average wages to drop for native-born Americans. In fact, studies have shown that wages only drop for adults who don’t have a high-school diploma (a group that represents less than 10% of the native population).

Even then, the drop is only 1-2%. For everyone else, average wages either increase or remain the same.

Myth #2: Immigrants Take Jobs from Native Born Americans

You have probably heard that immigrants are taking American jobs more than once. Truthfully, an influx of immigrants tends to increase the overall size of the workforce and the number of available jobs.

This is because immigrants tend to take jobs that native workers avoid anyway. Immigrants often take jobs in agricultural or dangerous fields that require unusual hours. Their employment complements native born workers, who then pursue different careers or have the chance to stay in school for longer.

Myth #3: Immigrants Pay No Taxes

The claim that immigrants come to the country and draw benefits without paying anything back feels like it’s everywhere. In fact, most immigrants have automatic deductions that go directly to:

  • State and Federal Income Taxes
  • Social Security
  • Medicare Taxes

Immigrants also pay property taxes and sales taxes. And that brings us to Myth #4….

Myth #4: Immigrants Increase the Tax Burden

It’s been claimed that immigrants come to the U.S. and start draining government benefits. This is almost always incorrect, for a number of reasons. Immigrants are typically ineligible for a number of programs that can be used by native-born Americans, so they can never access the funds.

Immigrants who have college degrees actually end up contributing more than $500, 000 in taxes than they consume on average throughout their lives.

It is worth noting that immigrants who do not have a high school diploma will likely draw more from the government than they contribute. However, they still draw less than native-born adults at a similar level of education.

Myth #5: Immigrants Don’t Matter to the U.S. Economy

Some people claim that the U.S. economy would be fine without immigrants. In fact, dropping birthrates in the U.S. – we are currently down to 1.8 births per woman, which is below the 2.1 births per woman necessary to replace the current population – pose a serious danger to the economy.

Immigrants keep the U.S. workforce from shrinking. Their numbers keep the Social Security system from foundering more than it currently is and they keep economic growth from stagnating. Immigrants also come with their own demands for services and goods, which supports the economy further.

Many immigrants also start their own businesses, further boosting the economy and creating more jobs. Immigrants may have a difficult time securing the funds they need to open a business. Some secure the fast cash they need by taking out small loans on vehicles or pooling funds to purchase what they need.

Understanding the Role of Immigrants in the U.S.

Immigrants have been a part of the U.S. since Europeans first started landing on the shores of the Americas. There are a lot of myths surrounding people coming to the country now, but these myths are largely founded in fear and not facts.

Many immigrants strengthen the economy, support the workforce, and put more into the government than they take out. Keeping the U.S. economy strong and growing can take all of us working together.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.