Pittsburgh leaders say immigrants are fueling economic growth in region

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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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