Chart Explains How Immigrants Help the Economy Grow and How Deportations Cause Decline


Editor’s Note: Lena Groeger at Pro Publica has an interesting chart illustrating the impact of immigrants on the economy. Here is the chart, along with some of her explanation of it:

In an analysis for ProPublica, Adam Ozimek and Mark Zandi at Moody’s Analytics, an independent economics firm, estimated that for every 1 percent increase in U.S. population made of immigrants, GDP rises 1.15 percent. So a simple way to get to Trump’s 4 percent GDP bump? Take in about 8 million net immigrants per year. To show you what that really looks like, we’ve charted the effect below. You can see for yourself what might happen to the economy if we increased immigration to the highest rates in history or dropped it to zero – and everything in between.

It may seem like a basic point: Adding immigrant workers means the economy is larger, with more people earning wages and buying goods and services. But that fact may come as a surprise to a lot of people, said Jennifer Hunt, an economist at Rutgers University. Many Americans assume that immigrants have zero effect on the economy, or think that immigrants subtract value from an economic pie of fixed size. In fact, immigrants make the pie bigger. According to a recent paper by economists Ryan Edwards of Mills College and Francesc Ortega of Queens College CUNY, even undocumented immigrants spur growth.

Using the paper’s methods, we calculated that deporting the estimated 11.3 million undocumented people in this country would be an almost $8 trillion hit to the economy over the next 14 years. Legalizing them could boost GDP by almost $2 trillion in that same time period. You can see what these hypothetical scenarios would look like in our chart above.

Read the rest of the article here. Links to methodology are provided at ProPublica.