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The Fiscal Impact of Immigration: There Isn't One

Concerns over the cost of immigrants on host countries should be allayed by a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which found that the fiscal impact of immigrants in most countries is close to zero. More nations in the study experience a positive impact on their gross domestic product than a negative one as a result of immigration.

The fiscal impact was measured by the amount immigrants pay in taxes, as well as “social contributions” vs. individual benefits such as pensions. The age structure of migrant populations was deemed one of the largest contributors to either a negative or positive outcome—as is the case in countries such as Germany, with older migrant populations no longer working—but the migrants’ integration into the labor market and skill level were also cited as important factors. “In contrast with the the public perception in many OECD countries that migration costs the public, our findings showed that was not the case,” says Jean-Christophe Dumont, head of the OECD’s international migration division and lead author of the study.

McCann is a contributing graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @atmccann.

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