Report: Immigrants vital to NYC economy

statue of liberty government shutdown
New York City is still a thriving home for immigrants, a state report found.
Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A new report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that despite being hit the hardest by the recession, New York City immigrants are playing a huge role in keeping the city’s economy thriving.

Immigrants were to thank for about $210 billion in economic activity in 2011, approximately 31 percent of the city’s gross city product — the municipal-level version of GDP, essentially the size of the economy and a major indicator of how well the city’s economy is doing.

Not only are immigrants responsible for nearly a third of the city’s economy, they also make up nearly half of the city’s workforce.

In fact, immigrants are the major drivers boosting some of the neighborhoods that are economically on the rise: Coney Island, Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights and Washington Heights, according to the report.

The report also found that immigrants are not limited to lower-paying occupations: they are apparently comprising a notable number of the city’s physicians, accountants, auditors and financial managers.

While immigrant wages dropped by about 12 percent from 2007 to 2009, during the recenssion, they bounced back and then some in the two following years with an increase of about 16 percent. The number of businesses in the ten neighborhoods the Census defines as having the highest number of immigrants grew by nearly 23 percent. Businesses in other areas of the city grew by only 7 percent, the report found.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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