Study: Majority of Immigrant Households Use Welfare 59% of Illegal-Headed Households, 52% of Legal

Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler
Center for Immigration Studies
December 19, 2023
Washington, D.C. (December 19, 2023) — A new Center for Immigration Studies analysis of Census Bureau data finds more than half of immigrant households use at least one major welfare program. This is primarily attributed to the fact that the American welfare system is designed in large part to help low-wage workers with children, which describe a large share of immigrants.

Immigrants, including illegal immigrants, often receive benefits on behalf of U.S.-born, even if they themselves are not eligible. This research suggests that the ongoing border crisis and the enormous number of people released into the country will have profound implications for future welfare costs.

Steven Camarota, the lead author of the report and the Center’s director of research, commented on the findings, saying, “A very large share of immigrants come to America, have children, struggle to provide for them, and subsequently turn to taxpayers for support.” He emphasized, “While a majority of these households have a working member, giving employers access to low-wage workers often imposes significant costs on taxpayers.”