New Americans on Long Island: A Vital Fifth of the Economy

June 2, 2015. There are 526,000 immigrants living on Long Island, making up 18 percent of the region’s population and 20 percent of the economic output of Long Islanders, according to a study released today by the Fiscal Policy Institute, New Americans on Long Island: A Vital Fifth of the Economy.

Half of immigrants overall (51 percent) work in white-collar jobs, the study found, and the large majority (61 percent) live in families earning over $80,000 a year. Immigrants represent significant numbers of the people in more highly paid jobs such as professionals (23 percent), technicians (24 percent), and registered nurses pharmacists and health therapists (23 percent), as well as significant numbers in less well-paid jobs such as construction laborers (32 percent), food preparation services workers (33 percent), and sales clerks and cashiers (21 percent).

The report also includes tabulations of a Migration Policy Institute analysis estimating the number of unauthorized immigrants on Long Island to be 98,000—48,000 in Nassau and 50,000 in Suffolk. The analysis shows that a quarter of unauthorized immigrants work in construction and the other three quarters work in jobs from food services to retail to child care and more.

This report updates our 2011 report, New Americans on Long Island: A Vital Sixth of the Economy.

Click here for the full report, and here for the press release.