A Hamilton study examining the economic impact of Utica's refugee population concludes that although refugees present an initial challenge to this area, they are a long-term benefit.
"This is the only known study that looks at the economic impact of refugees on a local economy," said Paul Hagstrom, associate professor of economics and author of the study. "Utica is uniquely poised to benefit from its refugee population."
In the long run, refugees settling in Utica will pay more taxes than they receive in public assistance. "Refugees are a net cost in the early years and then yield benefits for many years to come," Hagstrom concluded. In addition, Hagstrom determined that many costs that area residents believe they are shouldering are, in fact, federally funded, such as the food stamp program and Supplemental Security Income.
Among the study's significant findings:
· The costs of refugee resettlement are front-loaded: After 13 years, the cumulative benefit of a single household becomes positive and remains positive every year after.
· The first year net cost of a single refugee household is about $4,413 to local governments, with education costs making up 40%, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 34%, and Medicaid 26%.
· The primary fiscal benefits accruing from refugees stem from their participation in labor markets (and therefore consumption of local goods) and real estate markets.
· The costs and benefits depend on the composition of refugee households and on their willingness to stay in the Utica area. There is little evidence that refugees have hurt the employment opportunities of native workers.