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Alexandria’s Immigrant Population Plays Positive Role in Local Economy

At a recent “New Americans in Alexandria” seminar, Ethiopian community members from ECCNOVA joined city leaders sharing the study’s results. From L to R: Sentayehu Abebe, Besu Feleke, Tade Kebede, Solomon Tekola, Mayor Allison Silberberg, Kone Fseha, Michael Mariam, Kedija Mohamed, and Eden Buba. (Photo by Lucelle O’Flaherty)

Study Shows Local Immigrants are Mostly Tax-Paying Entrepreneurs Not Using Social Services

The City of Alexandria has released New Americans in Alexandria, a report detailing the economic contributions of immigrants in Alexandria, the role they play in the local labor force, and their participation in recent population growth.

Based on their income, the report explains that immigrants living in Alexandria contributed $262.4 million in federal taxes and $102.2 million in state and local taxes in 2016. Immigrants in Alexandria contributed $150.0 million to Social Security and $39.0 million to Medicare, but were 33% less likely than U.S.-born residents to receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits.

Although immigrants comprised 28 percent of Alexandria’s overall population, they represented 32 percent of the working-age population and 31 percent of the employed labor force. This means immigrants were more likely than non-immigrants to be employed. Immigrants accounted for more than half of Alexandria’s population growth from 2011 to 2016, and played a critical role to key industries such as hospitality, recreation, retail, healthcare and general services.

As of 2016, more than 42,000 immigrants lived in Alexandria. Immigrants were mostly likely to have come from Ethiopia (16.4%), El Salvador (11.3%), Honduras (5.3%), and the Philippines (3.9%).

The report was compiled by New American Economy (NAE) in partnership with the City’s Workforce Development Center and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. In 2017, Alexandria was one of 25 U.S. communities selected to receive NAE’s Gateways for Growth Award to provide tailored research on contributions of immigrants. Alexandria was selected based on a strong commitment from local government, business and civil society partners in recognizing and highlighting the contributions immigrants make, and concrete strategies and recommendations needed to maximize these contributions.

For more information about the economic contributions of immigrants in Alexandria, visit

For more information about the City of Alexandria’s Workforce Development Center, visit

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