New data shows the economic impact of immigrants on the Seattle metro region

By: Alicia Teel Posted: 02/21/2017

"Map the Impact,' a campaign to highlight the power of immigrants in communities across the country, launches

New research on the contributions of immigrants across the country, including Seattle, demonstrates the positive impact foreign-born residents have on regional and state economies. The research, done by New American Economy (NAE), was released today as the organization launches Map the Impacta campaign to highlight the power of immigrants in communities across the country.

For example, in the Seattle metro area:

  • There are 613,667 foreign-born residents who make up 16.7 percent of the area’s population.
  • Immigrants paid $6.5 billion in state and local taxes and held $16.9 billion in spending power in 2014.
  • In Seattle, immigrants are 16 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs as native-born residents, and there are 39,091 immigrant entrepreneurs in our city. 
  • Immigrants make up 28.2 percent of the tourism, hospitality, and recreation industry, 23.5 percent of the professional, scientific and technical services industry, and 22.8 percent of the information industry. 

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Maud Daudon said, “This new data reinforces our understanding of the significant role immigrants play in keeping our region economically vibrant and globally competitive. They bring innovation, fresh thinking and entrepreneurial drive, and help position our region to compete against all the other parts of the world that would love to have the jobs and the prosperity we have here.”

She added, “Immigrants are an integral part of business growth in many ways, and this data underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the needs of businesses, industries and the communities to which immigrants contribute.”

Immigration policy has long been a federal priority for the Seattle Metro Chamber, which has worked with Washington’s congressional delegation to advocate for policies that enable local businesses to grow a diverse, well-educated talent pool.