The COVID-19 crisis has brought renewed attention to the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy. Immigrants disproportionately work in the jobs labeled “essential” during the spring lockdowns in 2020, placing many of them on the front lines of the crisis. While initially immigrants were more negatively impacted by the coronavirus recession, immigrants are once again poised to play a vital role in the economic recovery and future economic growth. Their spending power, relative youth, high levels of involvement in STEM fields, and high rates of entrepreneurship make them key contributors to our economy.

Immigrants in the United States make up approximately 1-in-7 residents, 1-in-6 workers and create about 1-in-4 of new businesses. Immigrants are diverse in many ways: country of origin, race and ethnicity, education and occupation. Nearly half of all immigrants are naturalized citizens (20.7 million), 27 percent are lawful permanent residents (12.3 million) and 5 percent are temporary residents with legal status (2.2 million). Less than one-fourth of the foreign-born population (10.5 million) are undocumented. Immigrants are more likely to be of prime working age (between 25 and 54 years old), balancing out the relatively older native-born population.

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