Earlier this year, Urban Institute researchers contributed to a comprehensive National Academies of Science study examining the fiscal and economic impacts of immigrants and refuting many common misperceptions about immigration.
Immigrants have roughly the same pattern of government spending and funds received as native-born Americans, with differences largely related to differences in demographic characteristics. But in general, immigrants tend to be more of a burden on state and local government budgets than on federal coffers, though it varies by state.
Why are states spending more on immigrants? And will their investments pay off?
Investing in children’s education will pay off in the long run. With the aging US population, immigrants and their children are the workforce of tomorrow, contributing not just the labor, but the taxes that will shape our nation’s fiscal health.
With respect to government finances, the National Academies’ report shows that the adult children of immigrants contribute the most on average to federal and state and local coffers. So while public education is expensive to state and local governments, making sure all children—with native and immigrant parents alike—are equipped for tomorrow’s jobs is critical for the country’s future.
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