Snapshot of the Data

According to the 2024 Pew State of the City Report, 15.7% of Philadelphia’s population was born outside the U.S., higher than the national level of 13.9% and placing Philadelphia fifth among the comparison cities in terms of its share of foreign-born residents. This affirms a trend over the last decade of immigrants serving as economic and population drivers in the City of Philadelphia. Prior reporting about Philadelphia’s Immigrants in 2018 informed us of important trends such as:

  • Nearly 20% of workers in Philadelphia are foreign-born.
  • Foreign-born residents open up businesses at twice the rate of native-born residents.
  • One in four Philadelphia children live in a home with a foreign-born person.

Additionally, the 2022 American Community Survey shows that although 11% of the Philadelphia population speaks English less than very well, 24% of Philadelphians are multilingual, speaking more than just English in their home.

Across the state of Pennsylvania, the data also shows how the state economy relies heavily on immigrant workers, taxpayers, consumers and entrepreneurs. According to a report released by the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition in April 2024, immigrants in Pennsylvania had a spending power of $30.1 billion and paid $11.5 billion in taxes in 2021. They also report that immigrants in PA are job creators, with 65,841 immigrant entrepreneurs generating $1.9 billion in income in 2021.

These and newly released reports and analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts, paint a picture in which immigrants and their children are key to the city and state now and into the future. But what does the data really tell us about Philadelphia residents? Who are these people and what are their stories?

A Certified Welcoming City: Our Diversity is our Strength

In 2024, for June’s Immigrant Heritage Month, the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) and our partners have curated a series of events on the theme of Stories Untold: Amplifying immigrant voices in Philadelphia. This theme celebrates the rich and diverse narratives and numerous contributions of immigrant communities within our city, whose stories are integral to our shared history and our future. In alignment with our mission, OIA aims to lift up, share and promote the diverse stories of Philly’s rich and rapidly changing immigrant communities.

The diversity within our local immigrant community is vast: continent, nation, language, religion, gender identities, sexual orientation, age, years of education, work experience, and more. No two immigrant communities are alike, and no one community is a monolith. During Immigrant Heritage Month, we invite Philadelphia residents to learn more about newly arrived and long-established immigrant communities. We also invite you to tap into your own family’s migration story – be it by choice, by circumstance or by force – and share it widely with others.

Our city has also experienced some significant population waves over the last several years generating New Philadelphians who are growing roots, working hard in different industries and sectors, starting businesses, having children, and becoming our civic, economic, and cultural leaders. Immigrants and their children have been contributing to the fabric of our city for decades and it will only continue to grow.

As a Certified Welcoming city, we are proud of this as we know that our diversity is our strength. We also know that successful integration and inclusion of immigrants and their children requires investments in policy and program development. Mayor Cherelle L. Parker has recommitted the City to maintain its Certified Welcoming status and has charged the Office of Immigrant Affairs to drive that process. Although the recertification process will officially launch in 2025, OIA will begin to lay the groundwork this year to make sure city agencies and departments, community-based partners, and the regional employer, business and private sector communities are ready for further immigrant inclusion and integration. As an ambitious city, we hope to achieve 4 or 5 star recertification just in time for the exciting 2026 national and global celebrations!

To stay informed on what we are working on to maintain and expand our Certified Welcoming status, please join our mailing list!

Join us for 2024 Immigrant Heritage Month Programs!

In the meantime, please join us and dozens of our partners in learning about and lifting up the many diverse stories of the Philadelphia immigrant community at any of over 30 events in June! Join us to learn about Southeast Asian refugee migration over time, enjoy Caribbean food and music, watch celebrated films about diverse Latino and refugee communities, learn about AfricaTown’s birth and expansion and how they drew inspiration from our vibrant Chinatown, listen to podcasts about diverse immigrant experiences, deepen your understanding of how migration impacts mental health for immigrants, celebrate World Refugee Day, enjoy parks that have been made more vibrant by local immigrant neighbors, and learn about city and community resources for workers and business owners in Philadelphia! Then close out the month with us on Wednesday, June 26 to better understand new reporting and analysis about the local immigrant community!

There is something for everyone this Immigrant Heritage Month! Please join us!

Visit our website to learn about all the programing our office and our partners are offering for Immigrant Heritage Month this year.