New Report Shows Immigrants in Pittsburgh Paid $298 Million in Taxes and Held $730.8 Million in Spending Power in 2019

Immigrants in Pittsburgh contributed approximately $3.5 billion to city’s gross domestic product (GDP), or 11.1 percent of its GDP.

A new report, New Americans in Pittsburgh, released by the American Immigration Council—in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, underscores the crucial role immigrants play in the region’s labor force, business creation, and consumer spending power.

Between 2014 and 2019, the population of Pittsburgh decreased by 1.3 percent, and the immigrant population grew by 18.9 percent. Without immigrants coming to the city, the total population would have decreased by 2.7 percent. In 2019 alone, immigrants in the county held $730.8 million in spending power, paid $202.9 million in federal taxes, and paid $95.1 million in state and local taxes.

The new reportwas awarded to the City of Pittsburgh as part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and/or technical assistance from the American Immigration Council and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities. Pittsburgh presented the report at the Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney Theatre Room in the Union Trust Building. The presentation and reception brought together academics, policymakers, service providers, activists, community leaders, and others working with and for New Americans. The report will be leveraged in the City’s efforts to draft a multi-sector immigrant inclusion and integration strategy.

“The launch of this report and the multi-sector convening served as an opportunity to bring together stakeholders that are informed, and are in positions to implement policies, practices and investments that can move our city forward in a manner that is forward thinking, welcoming and competitive,” said Feyisola Akintola, Manager, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA). “We can be the city of tomorrow, if we go from ideation to implementation starting today.” 

“This report shows the vital role that immigrants in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County play in powering key local sectors and creating jobs in the city and across Pennsylvania,” said Rich André, director, state and local initiatives at the American Immigration Council. “The city’s efforts to welcome all newcomers and uplift their diverse skills, talents, and contributions ensures that the region can continue to invest in the community’s future.”

“As a Certified Welcoming city, Pittsburgh continues to be an example for how communities can effectively harness the talent of immigrants to create greater prosperity for all residents,” said Molly Hilligoss, Network Director of Welcoming America. “As we head into Welcoming Week, we’re thrilled to see that the Gateways for Growth Challenge is part of making Pittsburgh an even more welcoming place for the future.”

The new research report, New Americans in Pittsburgh, finds:

  • Immigrants are helping the city meet its labor force demands. Immigrants made up 9.0 percent of the city’s population but accounted for 9.2 percent of its employed labor force.
  • Immigrants are helping Pittsburgh meet its rising labor needs in key industries. Immigrants represented 17.7 percent of STEM workers, 16.1 percent of education workers, and 13.1 percent of manufacturing workers.
  • Immigrants support the federal safety net. Immigrants in Pittsburgh contributed $93.9 million to Social Security and $26.8 million to Medicare in 2019. 
  • Immigrants in Pittsburgh help create or preserve local manufacturing jobs. Immigrants strengthened the local job market by allowing companies to keep jobs on U.S. soil, helping preserve or create 1,200 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise been elimated or moved elsewhere by 2019.

About the American Immigration Council

The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. In January 2022, the Council and New American Economy merged to combine a broad suite of advocacy tools to better expand and protect the rights of immigrants, more fully ensure immigrants’ ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming. Follow the latest Council news and information on ImmigrationImpact.com and Twitter @immcouncil. 

About Welcoming America

Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. We believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of our communities and shared future. Through the Welcoming Network, we work to change systems and culture by providing communities the roadmap they need to create welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion to create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Learn more at welcomingamerica.org.