New Study Focuses on the Huge Economic Contributions of Immigrants in Santa Clara County
Study by American Immigration Council is a lens into the community; release coincides with National Welcoming Week for new Americans
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. – A new study on the impacts of immigrants on Santa Clara County – released during National Welcoming Week for new Americans – reveals the depth of economic contributions made by this segment of the population, which accounts for 2 out of every 5 persons living in the county.
The report was created by the American Immigration Council, which worked with the County of Santa Clara Office of Immigrant Relations to examine and analyze the crucial role immigrants play in the region’s labor force, business sector, and consumer spending power.
“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.”
Among the findings in the New Americans in Santa Clara County report:
- While immigrants make up about 40% of the population, they contribute 54% of the gross domestic product created in Santa Clara County each year – $255 billion in 2021.
- Nearly half of the 1 million people who make up the Santa Clara County's labor force are immigrants.
- Immigrants are helping the county meet its labor force demands. In 2021, immigrants made up 40.6 percent of the county’s population, but accounted for 49.9 percent of its employed labor force.
- Immigrant households support the federal safety net. Immigrants in Santa Clara County contributed $5.1 billion to Social Security and $1.8 billion to Medicare in 2021.
- Immigrants play a significant role in the county as entrepreneurs. In 2021, immigrants represented half the business owners in Santa Clara County and generated $1.5 billion in business income in the county.
- Immigrants are helping the county fill crucial labor force needs in STEM and other key industries. In 2021, immigrants accounted for 67 percent of the region’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers, 64 percent of manufacturing workers, and 56 percent of professional service workers.
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.
“We are a nation of immigrants and a county of neighbors,” said President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Susan Ellenberg. “When we talk about the goal of making our county the best place to raise a child, we are referring to all families and all children – regardless of where they were born or what language is spoken in their homes. Our strength is greatest and our union more perfect when we welcome and feel responsible for one another.”
County Executive James R. Williams, who as a first generation American is the child of immigrants, said the County highly values the diversity brought by immigrants. He noted that the County has been a leader in promoting immigrant rights, including successfully fighting the Trump administration when it threatened to pull federal funding from welcoming communities like Santa Clara County.
“We have persevered, standing strong with our immigrant community time and time again,” Williams said. “We recognize that our immigrants and diversity are a fundamental part of this county’s fabric, and we will always dedicate attention and resources to supporting the health, well-being, dignity, and equity of these families. This study helps clearly show just how much immigrants enrich our entire community.”
Mo Kantner, senior director of policy and research at the American Immigration Council, said the county has a “rich history of immigration, shaping the region’s culture and economy.” She pointed out that, nationally, immigrants account for just over 13 percent of the population, but in Santa Clara County they are more than 40 percent of the population.
“That’s more than 765,000 immigrants living in Santa Clara County, with nearly 56 percent of households having at least one immigrant resident,” Kantner said. “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.”
ABOUT THE OFFICE OF IMMIGRANT RELATIONS
The Office of Immigrant Relations is a County program that promotes immigrant integration and belonging by addressing issues and needs, and uplifting immigrant contributions. The mission of the County of Santa Clara is to plan for the needs of a dynamic community, provide quality services, and promote a healthy, safe, and prosperous community for all. We envision a county where the immigrant community is safe, connected and has opportunities to grow, thrive and feel a sense of belonging.