Report shows economic contributions of immigrants across Pittsburgh region

Author: Alanna Koll/Tuesday, July 12, 2016/Categories: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald held a press conference Tuesday morning to release the findings of a report on the economic impact immigrants and Latinos have on Western Pennsylvania. 

“Advancing the Pittsburgh Region: A Snapshot of the Demographic and Economic Contributions of Immigrants” was developed through a partnership between the city, Welcoming Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) and PA Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh-Allegheny Conference. 

“This report shows that immigrants advance the economy of the Pittsburgh Region,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of PNAE. “Immigrants work in Pittsburgh’s top industries like manufacturing, education, and health care; strengthen the local tax base; and start businesses that create jobs in Allegheny County and across the region.” 

According to the report, in 2014, the total GDP for Allegheny County was $89.6 billion; immigrants contributed $6.8 billion to that GDP. 

The foreign-born population in the county contributed an estimated $217 million in state, local, property, income, sales and excise taxes in 2014. The report pulled its data between the years 2009-2014. 

County Executive Fitzgerald noted that about 9,000 foreign-born students have supported $337 million in spending in the region, and contributed to over 5,000 local jobs. 

He also touched on that while immigrants were only 5.1% of the county’s total population, they made up 8.6% of its self-employed population.

“Our region is a growing one with opportunity for everyone. Embracing those individuals who are newly-calling Allegheny County home is just one more way to recognize their role in our continued growth and development.” 

Other findings of the report showed that between 2000 and 2014, the growth in the foreign-born population increased the total housing value in Allegheny County by more than $1 billion; 1 in 10 foreign-born residents are self-employed which is higher than the national average of about 1 in 13; and in 2012, businesses owned by Latino residents had $248 million in sales, and 1,216 paid employees- among other findings. 

“Pittsburgh was built by a skilled, hardworking and thriving immigration community,” said Mayor Peduto. “This report is a great reminder of how vital the growing immigrant and Latino community is to our region’s future success and stability.”