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NYS Comptroller


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November 5, 2015, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: New York City's Immigrant Population Playing Increased Role in Economy

Immigrants accounted for $257 billion in economic activity in New York City in 2013, nearly one-third of the city’s total economic output and nearly twice the level in 2000, according to a new report issued today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The report also revealed that immigrants, any foreign-born resident who was not a U.S. citizen at birth, account for 37 percent of the city’s population, the largest share in 100 years.

“Immigrants are playing an increasingly important role in New York City’s economy,” said DiNapoli. “The workforce is becoming more diverse, and the neighborhoods with the highest concentration of immigrants are experiencing economic growth that far exceeds the city-wide average. Clearly, a more diverse, skilled and educated workforce is vital for the city and our state to compete and succeed in the global economy.”

DiNapoli’s report showed more than 1.9 million immigrants (including 297,000 commuters) work in New York City. These employees accounted for 43 percent of the work force in 2013, up from 31 percent in 1990. Immigrants also have a strong presence in a wide range of occupations and industries, such as technology and finance.

Increased educational attainment has provided workers with the opportunity to obtain higher-skilled and better-paying jobs. While a smaller share of the city’s immigrant population (28 percent) has either a bachelor’s degree or a more advanced degree than in the native-born population (43 percent), this gap is narrower among immigrants who have arrived in the past decade (31 percent).

The Comptroller’s report also revealed:

  • Of the 4.4 million immigrants residing in New York state in 2013, nearly three-quarters lived in New York City and another 18 percent lived in the surrounding suburbs of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties;
  • New York City has the largest immigrant population in the nation (3.1 million), twice as large as the second-ranked city;
  • Since 1970, the number of immigrants in New York City (and their share of the city’s population) has more than doubled; and
  • Immigrants from Latin America made up one-third of the city’s immigrant population in 2013, while more than a quarter of immigrants came from Asia and nearly 20 percent came from the Caribbean.

For a copy of DiNapoli’s report The Role of Immigrants in the New York City Economy, visit:

For a copy of DiNapoli’s recent report The Hispanic Community in New York State, visit:

For access to state and local government spending, public authority financial data and information on 50,000 state contracts, visit Open Book New York. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

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