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A diverse group of business professionals gather at a meet and greet. Photo courtesy: ThinkStock 
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Immigrant population in Lancaster improves business sector

Immigrant population in Lancaster grows.

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As the immigrant population in Lancaster grows, the communities in the city continue to grow and change. A recent study from the New American Economy did over a 16 years period, tracking immigrant residents from 2000 to the present. The study set out to understand the economic impact of the 23,094 immigrant residents  currently residing in the area.

The study begins with the impact of the immigrant population that is drastically increasing in Lancaster and surrounding counties. Overall the growth of non-natives in the area grew at a higher rate than the total population. In fact, between 2009 and 2014 the immigrant population grew by 10.3%, a total of 2,154 people. The data from 2014 showed that 4.4% of the population in Lancaster were foreign-born and yet, those among these numbers have improved every sector affecting the Lancaster community.

“Lancaster County serves as yet another example of a great American community benefitting from the talent and hard work of immigrants,” said John Feinblatt, the Chairman of New American Economy when the report was released. “Immigrants not only help power key local sectors like manufacturing and healthcare, but also start businesses that create jobs both in the county and across the state.”

The businesses that Feinbatt talks about are largely successful in the area. In 2014 the foreign born residents contributed $1.3 billion to Lancaster County’s GDP, and had a total of $440,5 million in remaining spending power. This economic contribution is after taxes, in which the immigrant population paid $52.5 million in stated and local taxes and a total of $103.3 million in federal taxes.

The foreign born population in Lancaster has not only contributed greatly in taxes paid both locally and federally, but also drastically increased the local economy by building businesses and generating new links from Lancaster to communities throughout the area. In 2014 alone, the growth in the immigrant population in Lancaster brought 1,993 people to the county. Not only are foreign born residents attracting more people to the area, but as 4.6% of the immigrant population is self-employed (1,081 people), at a higher rate of the total population as well as their share of the population as a whole, as Feinblatt stated.Outside of the economic sector foreign born people were achieving higher levels of education than the total population in Lancaster County and also buying homes at a higher percentage.

These overall contributions of the immigrant population in Lancaster are projected to only increase as time goes on and the process of naturalization takes place. This is promising for the county of Lancaster because out of the 9,524 residents who were not citizens, 38.8% (3,698, were eligible for naturalization in 2014. The report states, “If Lancaster retains one-half of its international students with bachelor’s degrees or higher after graduation, 98 local jobs will be created within six years, boosting the county’s real GDP by $19 million in 2014 terms within the next 30 years, and increasing its population by 766 people within the next 50 years.”

“We are pleased and excited to share these encouraging statistics—as they reflect the assets and capabilities that refugees and immigrants bring to our vibrant Lancaster community,” said Stephanie Gromek, CWS-Lancaster, on behalf of the Lancaster County Refugee Coalition.

 
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