DiNapoli: Immigrants Built New York City
Immigrants make up an integral part of New York City’s economic life. In fact, they accounted for $215 billion in economic activity in the state in 2008, almost one third of the gross city product.
“It’s clear how invaluable newcomers are to the City’s economic life. In New York City, the immigrant story is truly the American story,” said New York State Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli.
He made the statement when he released a report outlining how immigration has been vital to New York City’s economy and growth in the past two decades. This, as Washington prepares to tackle immigration reform.
He said, “New York City remains a beacon of hope and opportunity for immigrants from every nation. Immigrants built New York City and drive its economy.”
As of 2008 immigrants made up 36 percent of the city’s population (half of Queens residents) and 43 percent of its workforce. Since 2000 the number of immigrant workers increased by 68 percent and wages paid to such immigrant workers increased by 39 percent, according to the report, which further stated that in the same period immigrant contribution to the gross city product increased by 61 percent.
Doctors ranked at 46 percent of the city’s immigrant workforce, foreign born nurses, 55 percent, and of cab drivers and chauffeurs, 9 out of 10 are immigrants. Some white collar careers such as accountants, auditors and CEOs also accounted for a large number of immigrants.
The report noted that during the past 20 years, household income of New York City’s immigrant population nearly doubled, from $23,000 in 1990 to $45,000 in 2007. And homeownership among immigrants also doubled representing 60 percent of all homeowners in the city as of 2008.
The report stated that Queens was the borough with the highest concentration of immigrants, 47 percent of the borough’s counted population. Six of the 10 neighbourhoods citywide with the largest immigrant populations, all with 50 percent or more foreign born, are in Queens, Elmhurst/Corona (68 percent), Jackson Heights (64 percent), Flushing/ Whitestone (52 percent), Forest Hills/Rego Park (51 percent), and Kew Gardens/Woodhaven (50 percent).
The most common country of origin for immigrants in these neighbourhoods are the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, China, Korea and Guyana. More than half of Queens workforce is foreign born.