Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Thriving Communities of Syrian Immigrants Integrate and Succeed in American Society, Are Strong Receiving Force for Syrian Refugees
Press Release

RELEASE: Thriving Communities of Syrian Immigrants Integrate and Succeed in American Society, Are Strong Receiving Force for Syrian Refugees

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress and the Fiscal Policy Institute, or FPI, released a new joint analysis providing an overview of the estimated 90,000 Syrian immigrants currently living in the United States, showing their successful integration and contributions to their local economies and indicating ways that they could help create a strong receiving force for the new Syrian refugees settling in their communities.

Using 2014 American Community Survey 5-year data, CAP and FPI’s analysis shows that Syrian immigrants are fitting into and excelling in the United States, both socially and economically, in a wide variety of aspects: learning English; getting good jobs; owning homes; becoming citizens; and starting businesses at impressive rates.

Highlights of the findings in the analysis include:

  • Syrian immigrants are a highly entrepreneurial group: 11 percent of Syrian immigrants are business owners, compared with 4 percent of immigrants overall and 3 percent of U.S.-born individuals.
  • Syrian immigrant businesses are thriving: The median earnings among Syrian business owners are $72,000 per year. This means that they are supporting and growing their local economies, and providing employment.
  • They are well-educated: Syrian men, in particular, are more likely to have a college degree or an advanced degree such as a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree.
  • Syrian immigrants speak English at high levels compared with all immigrants.

“As decisions will undoubtedly have to be made in the near future regarding the fate of Syrian refugees and our country’s response to them, policymakers should take into account that the United States already has a robust and thriving community of Syrian immigrants making contributions and integrating well and is well-suited to facilitate the integration of new Syrian refugees,” said David Dyssegaard Kallick, senior fellow at the Fiscal Policy Institute and a co-author of the issue brief.

“Our findings about the successful integration of Syrian immigrants are reassuring and in line with CAP’s and FPI’s previous work on refugees,” said Silva Mathema, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress and a co-author of the brief. “The success of Syrian immigrants, like that of other immigrants, is a positive sign that the United States is a place that can provide opportunity for a wide range of people, where immigrants consistently make real contributions to local economies around the country.”

Read the analysis: “Syrian Immigrants in the United States: A Receiving Community for Today’s Refugees,” here.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Tanya Arditi at [email protected] or 202.741.6258.


The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

The Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all New Yorkers. FPI’s Immigration Research Initiative looks at immigration issues in New York state and around the country.