New Report Shows Immigrants in Santa Clara County Paid Over $22.0 Billion in Taxes and Held $45.0 Billion in Spending Power in 2021

Immigrants in Santa Clara County made up 50.3 percent of business owners and generated $1.5 billion in business income

September 14, 2023
Last modified: 
September 14, 2023

Santa Clara County, CA, September 14, 2023 — A new report, New Americans In Santa Clara County, released today by the American Immigration Council—in partnership with the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations—underscores the crucial role immigrants play in the county’s labor force, business creation, and consumer spending power.

Between 2016 and 2021 the population of Santa Clara County decreased by 1.7 percent while the immigrant population grew by 1.1 percent. During this time period, without immigrants moving to the county, the total population would have decreased by 2.1 percent. In 2021 alone, immigrants in the county held $45.3 billion in spending power and paid $15.4 billion in federal taxes and $6.7 billion in state and local taxes. Despite making up 40.6 percent of the county's total population in 2021, immigrants represented 67.2 percent of its science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers, 64.0 percent of manufacturing workers, and 56.3 percent of professional service workers.

The new report was awarded to the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations as part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and/or technical assistance from the American Immigration Council and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities. The report is the first step toward the development of a Countywide immigrant welcoming plan, with the next step being a needs assessment of the immigrant population. The goal is to find best practices to accommodate and welcome new families arriving in Santa Clara County.

“What a wonderful time to showcase the hard facts and numbers that lay out what immigrants currently do for our county, and what immigrants have always done for our country,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Otto Lee. “Silicon Valley offers immigrants opportunity and hope, and in return the immigrants do more than their share in terms of contributing to the economic boom of the county, the Bay Area, and beyond.”

“Santa Clara County, like the state of California, has a rich history of immigration, shaping the region’s culture and economy,” said Mo Kantner, senior director, policy and research at the American Immigration Council. “This report quantifies the multifaceted contributions immigrants are currently making across the county, and how their diverse skills and talents help create an inclusive, vibrant community.”

“Through programs like Gateways for Growth, we’ve seen the widespread benefits to entire communities when immigrants are able to contribute fully, particularly as entrepreneurs, workers in key industries, neighbors, and community leaders. This Welcoming Week, we are happy to say that Santa Clara County is just one example of how immigrant inclusion is part of the recipe for sustainable population and long-term economic growth,” said Molly Hilligoss, network director of Welcoming America.

The new research report, New Americans in Santa Clara County, finds:

  • Immigrants are helping the county meet its labor force demands. In 2021, immigrants made up 40.6 percent of the county’s population but comprised 47.7 percent of the working age population and accounted for 49.9 percent of its employed labor force.
  • Immigrant households support the federal safety net. Immigrants contributed $5.1 billion to Social Security and $1.8 billion to Medicare in Santa Clara County in 2021. 
  • Immigrants play a significant role in the county as entrepreneurs. In 2021, immigrants represented 50.3 percent of business owners in Santa Clara County and generated $1.5 billion in business income for the county.
  • Immigrants are helping the county fill crucial labor force needs in STEM fields and other key industries. Despite making up 40.6 percent of the county’s total population, immigrants accounted for 67.2 percent of the region’s STEM workers, 64.0 percent of manufacturing workers, and 56.3 percent of professional service workers in 2021.
  • Immigrants are helping keep jobs on U.S. soil. Immigrants in the county helped create or preserve approximately 35,200 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise been eliminated or moved elsewhere by 2021.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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