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New Americans in Florida

Florida ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Sunshine State (Update May 2014)

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There are few states where the growing political and economic clout of immigrants, children of immigrants, and Latinos is as apparent as Florida. Immigrants (the foreign-born) account for nearly 1 in 5 Floridians, and roughly half of them are U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. Latinos comprised 1 in 7 of the state’s voters in the 2008 elections, while immigrants and their children were nearly 1 in 5 of the state’s registered voters as of 2008. Immigrants not only contribute 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 $143.1 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of nearly $90 billion and employed more than 400,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Florida can ill-afford to alienate such a critical component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.

Immigrants and their children are a large and growing share of Florida’s electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Florida’s population rose from 12.9% in 1990, to 16.7% in 2000, to 19.4% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Florida was home to 3,702,627 immigrants in 2011, which is nearly the total population of Los Angeles, California.
  • 49.7% of immigrants (or 1,840,016 people) in Florida were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 (up from 42.9% in 1990)—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 4.5% of the state’s population (or 825,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 18.8% (or 1,649,512) of registered voters in Florida 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 5 Floridians are Latino—and they vote.

  • The Latino share of Florida’s population grew from 12.2% in 1990, to 16.8% in 2000, to 22.9% (or 4,355,051 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.2% in 1990, to 1.7% in 2000, to 2.4% (or 463,164 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 15.4% (or 1,227,000) of Florida voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.1% (or 84,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of Latino and Asian voters far exceeded the margin of victory (236,450 votes) by which Barack Obama defeated John McCain in Florida.
  • In Florida, 86.1% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 89.1% of children in Asian families in Florida were U.S. citizens, as were 89.8% of children in Latino families.

Immigrant workers and taxpayers are integral to Florida’s economy.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Florida paid $706 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $633.7 million in sales taxes, and $72.6 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in Florida to have legal status, they would pay $747.4 million in state and local taxes, including $668.3 million in sales taxes, and $79.1 million in property taxes.
  • Immigrants comprised 24.7% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 2,295,252 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 6.6% of the state’s workforce (or 600,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • Immigrants accounted for 38% of total economic output in the Miami metropolitan area and 13% of total economic output in the Tampa metropolitan area as of 2007, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Florida, the state would lose $43.9 billion in economic activity, $19.5 billion in gross state product, and approximately 262,436 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Latino and Asian consumers and business owners are integral to Florida’s economy.

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Florida totaled $121.8 billion—an increase of 517% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $21.3 billion—an increase of 803% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Florida’s 450,137 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $72.6 billion and employed 302,345 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 64,931 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $17.3 billion and employed 104,650 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are integral to Florida’s economy as students.

Naturalized citizens excel educationally.

  • In Florida, 27.3% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 19.8% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 19.2% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 30.7% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in Florida with a college degree increased by 70.7% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In Florida, 86.8% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, according to the Urban Institute.
  • The English proficiency rate among Asian children in Florida was 90.8%, while for Latino children it was 85.7%, as of 2009.

Published On: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 | Download File