A More Equitable Distribution of the Positive Fiscal Benefits of Immigration

Wendy Edelberg and Tara Watson
Date of Publication: 
December, 2022
Source Organization: 
Brookings Institution

In this paper, the authors propose federal impact aid to localities with a high concentration of recently-arrived immigrants with low levels of education. The authors note that, while the overall fiscal impact of immigration is positive, the bulk of benefits accrue to the federal government while the bulk of costs—particularly related to education and health—are incurred at the state and local level. Impacts vary significantly by education level of arriving immigrants, with net negative impacts greatest in localities with high concentrations of newly-arrived, less-educated immigrants. The authors use Census data to determine these areas and propose federal subsidies in an amount based on a report by the National Academies of Sciences on the fiscal impact of immigrants. Aid would flow through existing federal programs, with 70 percent allocated to education through the Impact Aid program and the remainder allocated to health care through Federally Qualified Health Centers. After outlining their proposal, the authors address a number of concerns and questions relating to their specific assumptions and recommendations. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

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Edelberg, W. & Watson, T. (2022, December). A More Equitable Distribution of the Positive Fiscal Benefits of Immigration. Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/20221207_THP_Watson...