How Might Restricting Immigration Affect Social Security's Finances?

Brief

How Might Restricting Immigration Affect Social Security's Finances?

December 19, 2017

Abstract

Immigration helps finance Social Security by expanding the labor force and increasing payroll tax revenue, which largely funds the program. A recently introduced congressional bill would reduce lawful permanent immigration by about 50 percent. This brief shows that this bill, if enacted, would worsen the already strained finances of the Social Security trust funds. Program revenues would fall faster than expenditures, raising the present value of Social Security’s unfunded future obligations by $1.5 trillion, or 13 percent, over the next 75 years. Restricting immigration would require additional Social Security benefit cuts or tax increases to balance the system.

Cross-Center Initiative

To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit copyright.com, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.

LATEST IN Immigrants and Immigration

To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit copyright.com, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.