With the country’s immigration policy — from border security and the looming DACA termination to President Trump’s travel ban from mostly Muslim countries — remaining a hotly debated topic, WalletHub has taken a look at the economic impact immigrants have in the U.S.

 

Using four key factors (immigrant workforce, socioeconomic contribution, brain gain and innovators and international students) and 19 metrics ranging from median household income of the foreign-born population to the number of jobs created by immigrant-owned businesses, the personal finance website analyzed which states benefit most — and least  — from immigration.

 

New York ranked first overall, with California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Delaware rounding out the Top 5. Pennsylvania, where Metro publishes in Philadelphia, ranked 15th overall. Last year, California took the top spot, with New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia following suit.

 

States with the least impact from immigration overall are Mississippi, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and Idaho. Last year, Wyoming, Louisiana, South Dakota, Kentucky and Mississippi brought up the rear.

 

California has the biggest share of foreign-born residents, with 27 percent, 17.2 times higher than West Virginia, which has the lowest immigrant population.

 

Looking a little deeper, here’s what else WalletHub’s study discovered:

Highest percentage of jobs created by immigrant-owned businesses out of total jobs

California
New Jersey
Hawaii
Florida
Delaware
District of Columbia

Lowers percentage of jobs created by immigrants

West Virginia
Arkansas
Mississippi
Iowa
Oklahoma

Highest percentage of foreign-born STEM workers

New Jersey
California
New York
Delaware
Massachusetts

Lowest percentage of foreign-born STEM workers

North Dakota
Mississippi
Montana
South Dakota
Wyoming

Highest percentage of jobs created by presence of international students

District of Columbia
Massachusetts
New York
Rhode Island
Pennsylvania

Highest economic contribution of international students per capita

District of Columbia
Massachusetts
New York
Rhode Island
Delaware

NYC: An economic melting pot

Saima Anjam, senior director of advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), wasn’t surprised to find the Empire State in the top slot of WalletHub’s new study.

“Immigrants make up the fabric of our city and our society as a whole, so I think it’s really important to keep this and cities like this in mind,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to constantly remind people that this population plays such an important role in our day-to-day lives. Everybody, every day, comes across someone who is an immigrant.”

In New York City alone, where there are more than 3 million immigrants, more than 83,000 of them own a business, Anjam said. “They make up 46 percent of the city’s employed population and almost 40 percent of its total population.”

Foreign-born New Yorkers also earn 32 percent of total earnings in the city — “that’s over $100 billion in earned income,” she said. “When we talk about placing restrictions on immigrant populations, we have to remember they’re taxpayers, they’re homeowners, and they are supporting this economy and structure we’ve built around us.”