Cover: The Costs of Immigration to Taxpayers

The Costs of Immigration to Taxpayers

Analytical and Policy Issues

Published 1996

by Georges Vernez, Kevin F. McCarthy

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Because of recent rapid growth in the number of immigrants, their high concentration in a few states, and a lagging economy that has slowed the growth in public revenues, two questions have received considerable analytical and political attention in recent years: (1) do immigrants contribute more to public revenues than they receive in benefits from public services? and (2) do state and local governments pay a disproportionate share of the cost of services used by immigrants? This report reviews the estimates of the net fiscal costs of immigration made by several recent and well publicized studies of immigration at the national, state, and local levels. The authors find that these studies do not provide a reliable estimate of the net fiscal costs of immigration. Moreover, new data and agreement on a uniform accounting framework will be needed to reach a definitive answer to the policy questions about the costs of immigration.

This study was funded by The Ford Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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