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State economies most and least impacted by immigration

  • State economies most and least impacted by immigration

    The heated debate in the United States over immigration often raises questions about the economic value—or cost—of the nation's immigrants.

    Some policymakers blame foreign-born workers for taking coveted jobs and slowing wage growth. Others argue that immigrants in the workforce fuel innovation; bring education, skills, and specializations; and make significant contributions to economic productivity. They use their wages to buy consumer goods, services, houses, and businesses that create jobs for other workers.

    To look at which states benefit the most (and least) from immigration, Stacker looked at data from WalletHub, a personal finance website, which compared the economic impact of foreign-born populations in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It analyzed 20 indicators such as immigrants' income levels, rate of home ownership, the share of businesses they own, and how many are so-called STEM workers—those in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

    Using such factors, it measured how much states benefit from their immigrant populations, the socioeconomic contributions of foreign-born residents, the brain gain of skills and experience provided by highly educated immigrants, and the economic role played by international students.

    It looked at states' shares of foreign-born workers, the number of work visas per capita, second-generation households, Fortune 500 Companies founded by immigrants or their children, and jobs created by the economic contributions of international students.

    WalletHub ranked the states and the District of Columbia according to how much or how little their economies benefit from immigrants. It used data from a range of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Academy of Sciences, American Immigration Council, and Center for American Entrepreneurship.

    States such as Maryland stand out for having the highest median household income among its immigrant residents, while New Mexico had the lowest. The District of Columbia had the highest share of foreign-born adults with college educations, Wyoming had the smallest percentage of foreign-born STEM workers.

    Overall, find out which state has benefited the most economically from its immigrant population and which state the least.

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  • #51. Mississippi

    - Total score: 15.32
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #50
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #48
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #49
    - International students rank: #49

    Mississippi has the distinction of being the state, based on a host of economic factors, least affected by immigration. The Southern state ranks among the lowest in terms of jobs generated by immigrant-owned businesses and having few foreign-born workers in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

  • #50. Wyoming

    - Total score: 17.88
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #49
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #35
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #51
    - International students rank: #45

    With the least number of residents of all the 50 states, Wyoming ranks second from the bottom in terms of overall immigration economic impact. It is also at the bottom of the rankings for brain gain—the percentage of highly trained, foreign-born professionals in its workforce.

  • #49. Idaho

    - Total score: 20.38
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #45
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #32
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #50
    - International students rank: #42

    Idaho joins its Western neighbors Wyoming and Montana as states where immigrants have little economic impact. It is among the states with the fewest foreign-born adults with bachelor's degrees or higher, and its foreign-born population has among the lowest median household incomes in the country.

  • #48. Montana

    - Total score: 20.6
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #51
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #36
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #45
    - International students rank: #44

    Montana benefits little from immigration, ranking last in the nation in terms of the economic role of immigrants in its workforce. That includes the state's share of foreign-born workers, jobs generated by immigrant-owned businesses and its foreign-owned businesses.

  • #47. South Dakota

    - Total score: 21.18
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #44
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #44
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #48
    - International students rank: #40

    South Dakota hovers just above the bottom, ranking overall in 49th place for the socioeconomic contribution made by immigrants, a measure that takes into account factors such as immigrant-owned businesses, foreign-born home ownership, and income generated by immigrant households.

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  • #46. Louisiana

    - Total score: 21.61
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #41
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #51
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #35
    - International students rank: #41

    Louisiana, known worldwide for its music, cuisine, and culture, is last among the 50 states when measuring the socioeconomic contribution of immigrants. The calculation takes into account the state's share of foreign-born residents and the income and jobs they generate.

  • #45. Maine

    - Total score: 21.97
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #46
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #37
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #41
    - International students rank: #48

    Maine is the only New England state that has seen little economic impact from immigration. It stands in the 46th position vis-à-vis share of foreign-born workers, foreign-owned businesses, and other immigrant-related factors in its workforce.

  • #44. South Carolina

    - Total score: 22.32
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #43
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #46
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #40
    - International students rank: #47

    South Carolina ranks near the bottom in terms of the economic contribution of international students and its share of Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants or their children.

  • #43. West Virginia

    - Total score: 23.74
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #47
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #47
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #36
    - International students rank: #30

    West Virginia has the nation's lowest share of jobs generated by immigrant-owned businesses out of its total jobs. Also, it is third from the bottom in terms of the percentage of immigrants in its workforce and business ownership. It does rank second in the nation, however, for its share of foreign-born adults with bachelor's degrees or higher.

  • #42. Oklahoma

    - Total score: 24.67
    - Immigrant workforce rank: #39
    - Socioeconomic contribution rank: #40
    - Brain gain & innovation rank: #43
    - International students rank: #37

    Oklahoma ranks ninth from last in terms of the impact of immigration on its economy. The state of prairies and plains has nearly the nation's lowest percentage of foreign-born adults with college degrees or higher.

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