Why immigrants cost the taxpayer less than you might think

(Source: ONS)

Figures revealed by 2011 census data are a striking illustration of the different demographics of those born in the UK and those who have moved here. As shown by ONS data visualisation, immigrants tend to neither be very young or very old. As far as the Treasury is concerned, this is great news. Immigrants fall into neither of the two groups that withdraw most from the state, making them far more likely to be net contributors to the public purse.

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, explains why:

Immigrants from the new EU member states appear to pay almost a third more in taxes than they cost in benefits and services. Overall, far from being a burden, immigration makes it easier to finance our welfare state, not harder.

This is hardly surprising. Most immigrants are of working age and healthy, while the biggest items of state expenditure are, of course, pensions and health care, with the latter disproportionately going to the old. As for working age benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance, government statistics suggest that immigrants – whether from inside or outside the EU – are only about half as likely as natives to be claiming benefits.

(Full article)