A project of the Partnership for a New American Economy
New Hampshire has historically had a significantly smaller immigrant population than other states. In recent years, however, New Hampshire has been attracting more immigrants. From 2000 to 2013, the foreign-born population in New Hampshire grew by almost 40 percent. By 2013, over 70,000 people in the state were foreign-born.
Size of foreign-born population (2013)
Percent of state’s population that is immigrant
Growth in foreign-born population 2000-2013
The growing number of foreign-born citizens in New Hampshire will also cause a demographic shift that has the promise of drastically shifting the electoral map. According to a study by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the foreign-born Hispanic and Asian populations in particular could cause the the electoral makeup of 18 key states to change substantively. In New Hampshire, there are a total of 12,000 unregistered Asian and Latino voters. Between 2012 and 2016 there will be a total of 8,187 newly eligible Hispanic and Asian voters, by 2020 that number is expected to grow to 16,968. In a high impact scenario, this demographic change could result in 3,944 additional democratic voters in 2016 and 6,057 by 2020
In the coming years, science, technology, engineering, and math--or “STEM”--fields are projected to be a key part of US economic growth, adding jobs 73 percent faster than the rest of the economy. Fixing the US immigration system to make it easier for students trained in New Hampshire to remain in the country after graduation will be critical. In 2013, more than one in three of the students earning Master’s or PhD degrees in STEM fields from the state’s research-intensive universities were foreign-born. In recent years, noncitizens have earned more than two out of every three engineering PhDs granted in the state. By 2020, New Hampshire will need to fill 38,500 new STEM jobs and immigrants will play a key role in occupying these positions and continuing to promote economic growth.
Share of STEM graduates at state's most research-intensive schools who are foreign-born (2013)
Share of Engineering PhDs who were temporary residents (2006-2010)
Foreign-born students create jobs for New Hampshire residents and often provide the technological innovations that drive economic growth in the state. A recent study by the Partnership for a New American Economy and the American Enterprise Institute found that for every 100 foreign-born graduate of a US Master’s or PhD program who stays in the United States working in a STEM field, 262 jobs are created for Americans. That translates into a huge employment boost for New Hampshire, a state where, in 2010, one in six STEM workers with an advanced degree was a foreigner.
Immigration Reform = Economic Growth in New Hampshire
Reforming our immigration system will generate millions of dollars and thousands of jobs across New Hampshire. According to Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), undocumented immigrants who enroll in a legal path to citizenship will generate more than 1,700 jobs and more than $134 million for the state by 2020. Expanding the number of both high-skilled (H-1B) visas will also have positive economic effects. The new H-1B visas awarded to New Hampshire between 2010 and 2013 will translate into 1,339 new jobs for U.S.-born workers in the state by 2020. REMI estimates that expansion of the H-1B program would result in more than 1,100 jobs and add more than $93 million to Gross State Product by 2014.
In New Hampshire, creating a path to citizenship and expanding the high-skilled visa program would add a total of more than $120 million to Gross State Product in 2014.
In addition to providing valuable support to New Hampshire’s workforce, immigrants, specifically Hispanics, are also contributing to New Hampshire's economy. A recent study by the Partnership for a New American Economy found that Hispanics account for $637 million in New Hampshire’s spending power. Hispanics also contributed $182 million in combined federal, state, and local taxes. A total of $102 million of those taxes went to Social Security and $24 million was paid to the Medicare trust fund.
Between 2000 and 2010, more than 6,500 immigrants arrived in Hillsborough County, the area that includes the cities of Manchester and Nashua. By moving into neighborhoods formerly in decline, these immigrants played a role adding to the housing wealth of the neighborhood’s residents. That influx of immigrants added $755 to the value of the average home in the county, or more than $117 million to housing wealth there overall. Rockingham County, a county in the southeastern part of the state, gained 3,383 immigrants between 2000 and 2010. Those immigrants contributed $391 to the value of the average home in the county, growing housing wealth there by almost $45 million over the course of a decade. Almost 1,800 immigrants moved to Grafton County, the county that is home to Dartmouth College, between 2000 and 2010. Those immigrants raised the value of the average home there by $203 over the course of the decade, translating into $7.3 million in additional housing wealth for county residents.
In New Hampshire, as in the rest of the country, immigrants play a significant role in driving economic growth and job creation through new business startups: between 2006 and 2010, immigrant-owned businesses generated $252 million in income for the state. Immigrants owned 5.7% of the state’s businesses, slightly more than their share of the state’s population.
Share of business owners in New Hampshire who are immigrants
Annual business income generated by immigrant-owned businesses
Immigrant entrepreneurs have long made significant contributions to New Hampshire’s economy. Founded by Nathan Swartz, a Russian immigrant who began his career as an assistant to a Boston cobbler in 1918, the Stratham, NH-based footwear company Timberland employs more than 5,800 people and draws $1.5 billion in annual revenue.
The state is short some of the workers it needs in STEM areas, fields that help the economy remain innovative and competitive. According to the nonpartisan advocacy group Change the Equation, from 2009 to 2011 some 2.3 STEM jobs were posted online in New Hampshire for every one unemployed STEM worker in the state.
Ratio of available STEM jobs to available workers
New Hampshire may also need to recruit immigrants to address a coming shortage of medical professionals. By 2030, the federal government has estimated New Hampshire could be short 3,091 registered nurses, leaving 27 percent of the state’s RN positions unfilled. Immigrants are already playing a major role in filling these labor gaps: in 2012, 15.9 percent of physicians in the state were graduates of foreign medical schools, a population that is overwhelmingly immigrant, even though immigrants made up just 5.3% of the state’s population that year.
Share of Physicians who graduated from foreign medical schools, 2012
Immigrants in New Hampshire are also helping to create jobs in the state through seasonal and temporary work. Between 1990 and 2010, New Hampshire's supply of less-skilled workers born in the U.S. dropped by 18,473. Over that same period, the state's foreign-born, less-skilled labor force grew by 5,509, leaving a difference of 12,964 openings that immigrants could be filling. According to the US Department of Labor, New Hampshire employers were granted certifications to bring in nearly 362 workers on H-2B visas in fiscal year 2011. Though this is a modest total, one study by the Partnership for a New American Economy and the American Enterprise Institute, in fact, found that for every 100 H-2B visa workers, 464 jobs are created or preserved for American born workers. In New Hampshire, the 362 H-2B visas authorized in FY 2011 supported 1,680 American jobs.
New Hampshire H-2B Visas (FY2011)
The H-2B visa, however, can be costly and cumbersome to attain. Employers typically spend $2,500 for each H-2B visa they sponsor, and must apply to multiple federal agencies in the process, waiting eight weeks for an answer. With a more streamlined visa program, job creation in the state could be greater.
In 1955, Nathan Swartz bought the Abington Shoe Company in Abington, Massachusetts. A cobbler who immigrated to the United States in 1918 from the Soviet Union, Swartz transformed the footwear industry when he introduced injection-molding technology in 1965. This manufacturing method, which fuses soles to leather uppers without stitching, produced the first fully waterproof boots and shoes. After Swartz moved the company to Stratham, New Hampshire in 1969, he renamed it ‘The Timberland Company’ after the company’s most popular line of boots.
Today Timberland continues to make key innovations in shoe manufacturing: It recently introduced boots with rubber soles produced from reconstituted tires. The current CEO, Swartz’s grandson Jeff, has made environmental sustainability a priority, with the belief that being green is both an ethical aspiration and a critical part of the firm’s marketing success. Under his leadership, Timberland has grown rapidly, from earning $156 million in annual revenues in 1989 to $1.5 billion in 2011. It employs more than 5,800 people worldwide.
Immigrants are helping to grow the US economy everywhere, not just in the places—like our biggest cities—that we expect. They are helping to fill labor shortages on America’s farms, starting businesses that employ US workers, and developing the cutting-edge products that make America the world’s preeminent innovation hub.
Click on a state to learn more about the contributions immigrants are making to the local economy.