With 31.2 percent of its population born abroad, Passaic County has one of the largest immigrant populations of any county in New Jersey. The advantages of immigration to the regional economy were highlighted in a report recently released by the Passaic County Division of Economic Development and the Small Business Development Center at William Paterson University, with research support provided by the American Immigration Council, under its Gateways for Growth program.
One important finding is that immigration helped to stem the tide of population loss in the County. Without the arrival of new immigrants, the drop in the overall population over the last five years would have been 3.3 percent; instead it remained relatively stable.
Although immigrants make up 31.2 percent of the County’s population, they represented 40 percent of the employed population. Their contribution to so-called essential industries during the pandemic is remarkable. For example, almost three-quarters of all workers in food manufacturing and 53 percent in transportation and warehousing were immigrants. At the same time, immigrants make up close to half of all business owners in the County. As a whole, Immigrants contributed roughly one third, or $7.8 billion, to the county’s GDP in 2019.