Immigrant and Native Consumption of Means‐Tested Welfare and Entitlement Benefits in 2016: Evidence from the Survey of Income and Program Participation
The federal government spent more than $2.3 trillion in 2016 on the welfare state, an amount equal to approximately 60 percent of all federal outlays in that year. About $1.6 trillion of those expenditures went to Social Security and Medicare, and the other roughly $700 billion was used to fund means-tested welfare benefits. Based on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, we find that immigrants consume 21 percent less welfare and entitlement benefits than native-born Americans on a per capita basis. The per capita cost of providing welfare to immigrants is substantially less than the per capita cost of providing welfare to native-born Americans.
Lee, T., & Nowrasteh, A. (2020, Jan 14). Immigrant and native consumption of means‐tested welfare and entitlement benefits in 2016: Evidence from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Cato Institute Immigration Research and Policy Brief, 15. Retrieved from https://www.cato.org/publications/immigration-research-policy-brief/immigrant-native-consumption-means-tested-welfare