Beth Werlin, Deputy Legal Director for the American Immigration Council, discusses the recent...
New Americans in Arizona
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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for large and growing shares of the economy and electorate in Arizona. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 13.4% of the state’s population, and more than one third of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 1 in 10 registered voters in Arizona. The state’s immigrant workers contributed $2.4 billion in state tax revenue in 2004, while immigrant-headed households commanded $10.5 billion in consumer spending power that supported roughly 66,500 full-time jobs. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $49 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $12.5 billion and employed more than 85,000 people at last count. Immigrant, Latino, and Asian workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs are integral to Arizona’s economy and tax base—and they are an electoral force with which every politician must reckon.
Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Arizona’s population and electorate.
- The foreign-born share of Arizona’s population rose from 7.6% in 1990, to 12.8% in 2000, to 13.4% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Arizona was home to 871,667 immigrants in 2011, which is more than the population of San Francisco, California.
- 37.6% of immigrants (or 327,453 people) in Arizona were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 6.0% of the state’s population (or 400,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- 9.7% (or 278,761) of all registered voters in Arizona 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.
Nearly one-third of Arizonans are Latino or Asian.
- The Latino share of Arizona’s population grew from 18.8% in 1990, to 25.3% in 2000, to 30.1% (or 1,949,295 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.4% in 1990, to 1.8% in 2000, to 2.7% (or 177,297 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Latinos comprised 11.7% (or 291,000) of Arizona voters in the 2008 elections, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- In Arizona, 87.3% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to the Urban Institute.
- In 2009, 90.5% of children in Asian families in Arizona were U.S. citizens, as were 92.5% of children in Latino families.
Immigrant, Latino, and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add billions of dollars and tens-of-thousands of jobs to Arizona’s economy.
- The 2004 consumer spending power of immigrant-headed households in Arizona totaled $10.5 billion, according to a 2008 study by the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona. This spending:
- Supported approximately 66,500 full-time jobs.
- Accounted for $10.2 billion in state economic output.
- Generated tax revenues of roughly $776 million, consisting of $362 million in sales taxes, $328 million in business taxes, and $85 million in personal taxes.
- The 2012 purchasing power of Arizona’s Latinos totaled $39.8 billion—an increase of 639.5% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $9.3 billion—an increase of 1,154.1% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Arizona.
- Arizona’s 52,667 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $8 billion and employed 54,530 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 16,333 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $4.5 billion and employed 31,339 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
Immigrants are integral to Arizona’s economy as workers.
- Immigrants comprised 16.8% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 510,990 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Immigrants accounted for 15% of total economic output in the Phoenix metropolitan area as of 2007, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute. In fact, “immigrants contribute to the economy in direct relation to their share of the population. The economy of metro areas grows in tandem with the immigrant share of the labor force.”
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised 7.4% of the state’s workforce (or 230,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- The total economic output attributable to Arizona’s immigrant workers was $44 billion in 2004, which sustained roughly 400,000 full-time jobs, according to a 2008 study by the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy.
- Immigrant workers contributed $2.4 billion in state tax revenue in 2004, consisting of $1 billion in sales taxes, $967 million in business taxes, and $367 million in personal taxes, according to the same study.
Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.
- Unauthorized immigrants in Arizona paid $374.5 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $305.9 million in sales taxes, $29.2 million in state income taxes, and $39.4 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
- Were unauthorized immigrants in Arizona to have legal status, they would pay $430.2 million in state and local taxes, including $320.9 million in sales taxes, $67.4 million in state income taxes, and $41.9 million in property taxes.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $48.8 billion in economic activity, decrease total employment by 17.2%, and eliminate 581,000 jobs, according to a study by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda and Marshall Fitz. If unauthorized immigrants in Arizona were legalized, it would add 261,000 jobs to the economy, increase labor income by $5.6 billion, and increase tax revenues by $1.7 billion.
Immigrants are integral to Arizona’s economy as students.
- Arizona’s 12,738 foreign students contributed $321.4 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.
Naturalized citizens excel educationally.
- In Arizona, 25.1% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 14.5% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 23.3% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 49.3% of noncitizens.
- The number of immigrants in Arizona with a college degree increased by 85.6% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
- In Arizona, 79.5% 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 in Arizona was 91.6%, while for Latino children it was 85.1%, as of 2009.
Published On: Tue, Jan 01, 2013 | Download File