Patrick Taurel, Legal Fellow and the American Immigration Council, provides an in-depth look...
New Americans in Alaska
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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Alaska. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 7.1% of the state’s population, and more than half of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 6.9% of registered voters in the state. Immigrants are not only integral to the state’s economy as workers, but also account for billions of dollars in tax revenue and consumer purchasing power. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $3 billion in consumer purchasing power. Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $477 million and employed more than 4,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Alaska can ill-afford to alienate such a critical component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.
Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Alaska’s population and electorate.
- The foreign-born share of Alaska’s population rose from 4.5% in 1990, to 5.9% in 2000, to 7.1% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Alaska was home to 51,603 immigrants in 2011.
- 51.6% of immigrants (or 26,602 people) in Alaska were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised less than 1% of the state’s population (or fewer than 10,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- 6.9% (or 23,823) of registered voters in Alaska were “New Americans”—naturalized citizens or the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were raised during the current era of immigration from Latin America and Asia which began in 1965—according to an analysis of 2008 Census Bureau data by Rob Paral & Associates.
1 in 9 Alaskans are Latino or Asian.
- The Latino share of Alaska’s population grew from 3.2% in 1990, to 4.1% in 2000, to 5.8% (or 41,627 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 3.2% in 1990, to 4.0% in 2000, to 5.3% (or 37,971 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Latinos accounted for 2.6% (or 8,000) of Alaska voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 2.3% (7,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- In Alaska, 92.2% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to the Urban Institute.
- In 2009, 94.6% of children in Asian families in Alaska were U.S. citizens, as were 96.2% of children in Latino families.
Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Alaska’s economy.
- The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Alaska totaled $1.3 billion—an increase of 471% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $1.7 billion—an increase of 470% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
- Alaska’s 2,148 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $477.4 million and employed 4,219 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available.
Immigrants are integral to Alaska’s economy as workers and taxpayers.
- Immigrants comprised 8.8% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 33,511 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Unauthorized immigrants in Alaska paid $2.1 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $1.7 million in sales taxes and $385 thousand in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
- Were unauthorized immigrants in Alaska to have legal status, they would pay $2.3 million in state and local taxes, including $1.8 million in sales taxes and $470 thousand in property taxes.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised less than 1.5% of the state’s workforce (or fewer than 10,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Alaska, the state would lose $484.7 million in economic activity, $215.3 million in gross state product, and approximately 1,980 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.
Immigrants contribute to Alaska’s economy as students.
- Alaska’s 603 foreign students contributed $14.3 million to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses for the 2011-2012 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Immigrants excel educationally.
- The number of immigrants in Alaska with a college degree increased by 40.5% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
- In Alaska, 90.9% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
- The English proficiency rate among Asian children was 85.2%, while for Latino children it was 98.8%, as of 2009.
Published On: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 | Download File
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