GLOBAL ECONOMY

Pittsburgh leaders say immigrants are fueling economic growth in region

View of the downtown Pittsburgh skyline at dusk,  showing the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers joining to form the Ohio River. Three Rivers Stadium is on the left.  October 7, 1999.  (Photo by Steven Adams/Getty Images)

View of the downtown Pittsburgh skyline at dusk, showing the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers joining to form the Ohio River. Three Rivers Stadium is on the left. October 7, 1999. (Photo by Steven Adams/Getty Images)  (2003 Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald have laid out the welcome mat to immigrants, saying they contribute significantly to the local economy.

“The 10-county Pittsburgh region’s 82,308 immigrant residents have a significant positive impact on southwestern Pennsylvania’s economy through high rates of workforce participation in key industries, tax contributions and spending power,” mayoral spokeswoman Katie O’Malley told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The New American Economy reported Tuesday in its “Advancing the Pittsburgh Region,” that immigrants contributed $6.8 billion to Allegheny County’s GDP as well as $217 million in state and local taxes. Immigrants in Allegheny County held $1.8 billion in spending power, 6.3 percent of the county’s total spending power, with Asian immigrants contributing $912 million and Latino immigrants contributing $108 million.

"Today we have tangible numbers. Numbers that are showing it’s not just the welcoming heart of a city, it’s the economic growth of a region that is the biggest beneficiary: a resurgence in our economy that is being fueled by those coming from different countries,” Peduto told the Post-Gazette.

The report marks the first time Pittsburgh has had a complete picture of the impact immigrants have on the region.

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The region’s population declined 0.1 percent between 2009 and 2014. During that time, the foreign-born population increased by 7.9 percent, the report stated.

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