The Boston Research Snapshot is a
monthly summary of interesting data and research centered on a trend affecting Boston.
Immigrants in Boston: Enriching our Region
April 2017   
I N  F O C U S
Our feature article, focusing on an event, report or convening related to this month's topic.
For decades Boston's vitality has relied on the talent and entrepreneurial energy of immigrants. Without new immigrants moving to Boston over the last 35 years, our city's population would be roughly the same as it was back in 1980. And our population in 1980 was already almost 240,000 people below what it was in 1950.

Recently the Boston Foundation hosted a forum providing compelling data on the contributions of immigrants and exploring strategies for better tapping their talents in the new political landscape. For video of the event and for a link to the data presentation click here [Alvaro Lima]
Z O O M  I N
This piece explores our topic in a local context.
Massachusetts welcomes roughly 1,800 refugees annually, with the largest groups in recent years coming from Iraq, Bhutan and Somalia. This article has more detail over time and compared to other states. [Anise Vance]
This article uses three interactive maps to show Boston's immigrant population by census tract, looking specifically at: 1) our foreign born population; 2) our naturalized citizen population; and 3) our non-citizen population. [Peter Ciurczak]
Z O O M  O U T
Resources from other parts of the country offer a national context for our topic.
Episode 7 of On The Economy has a great walk-through of the academic research on the economic contributions of immigrants, explaining why "inclusive immigration policies, in addition to being a moral imperative, would benefit cities and states."  [Jared Bernstein and Ben Spielberg]
For a beautiful portrait of how immigration enriches American cities, check out this recent episode of Parts Unknown..."Ain't nothing more American than Viet Bayou-style crawdads steamed with Sriracha, orange juice, and beer." [Anthony Bourdain]
P A N  S H O T
Reports and articles from friends in Boston's data community yield a panoramic view of the region.
  • Undocumented immigrants make significant tax contributions to help fund public services like running public schools and maintaining our roads and bridges. In Massachusetts they pay roughly 7 percent of their income in state and local taxes. By contrast, the top 1 percent of income earners pay only 4.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes. Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy
  • Boston's 3.5 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country. "A labor market this tight would be a terrible thing to waste." Paul Grogan, Boston Globe
  • Support from public programs (like food stamps and rental assistance) declines as a family's income increases. These declines can be sharp, with the lost support feeling like falling off a cliff. Randy Albelda and Michael Carr
  • "Five Masachusetts cities accounted for 46 percent of the mortgages to black borrowers in 2015...Seven cities accounted for 42 percent of the loans to Latino borrowers." Katie Johnston
Also from Boston Indicators, Peter Ciurczak chats with Alvaro Lima, Director of Research at the Boston Planning and Development Agency, about Boston's foreign born community, their contributions to the city and the challenges they face.
The Boston Indicators Project is a research center of the Boston Foundation, and has been a primary data resource for Greater Boston for 15 years. Its goals are to democratize access to high quality data and information, foster informed public discourse, and monitor progress on shared civic goals.