This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Undocumented Immigrants Are Also Taxpayers

It is not uncommon for people to assume that undocumented immigrants to the US take more than they give when it comes to government services. Indeed, that is frequently the excuse for making sure that they are excluded from the receipt of local services. However, the American Immigration Council has generated a set of estimates suggesting that undocumented immigrants contribute a tremendous amount of taxes.
Collectively, these households paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes.  That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.  The states receiving the most tax revenue from households headed by unauthorized immigrants were California ($2.7 billion), Texas ($1.6 billion), Florida ($806.8 million), New York ($662.4 million), and Illinois ($499.2 million).
These are potentially important calculations in states such as Alabama that have tried deliberately to get undocumented immigrants to "self-deport." For the time being, at least, the limited evidence available suggests that Hispanics have departed Alabama for other states in the US, rather than deporting themselves out the of the US. This at least keeps their tax revenue within the country. Remember that a large proportion of undocumented immigrants pay Social Security taxes on their earnings, but since their names are unlikely to match up with a valid Social Security number, those tax payments wind up in the Social Security Administration's "earnings suspense file"--which is essentially a government slush fund since those people will never be eligible to draw upon Social Security benefits.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks very much, Prof. Weeks! It's articles and statistics like this that prove the valuable contribution of migrants and of immigration in general.