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New Americans in Georgia

Georgia ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians the Peach State (Updated May 2014)

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Georgia. Nearly 1 in 10 Georgians are immigrants (foreign-born), 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 7.3% 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 $29.3 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $20.6 billion and employed nearly 110,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Georgia 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 Georgia’s population and electorate. 

  • The foreign-born share of Georgia’s population rose from 2.7% in 1990, to 7.1% in 2000, to 9.6% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Georgia was home to 942,921 immigrants in 2011, which is more than the entire population of Jacksonville, Florida.
  • 39.6% of immigrants (or 373,068 people) in Georgia were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 4.4% of the state’s population (or 425,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 7.3% (or 337,544) of all registered voters in Georgia 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.

More than 1 in 10 Georgians are Latino or Asian.

  • The Latino share of Georgia’s population grew from 1.7% in 1990, to 5.3% in 2000, to 9% (or 880,067 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.1% in 1990, to 2.1% in 2000, to 3.3% (or 322,841 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos comprised 3.1% (or 128,000) of Georgia voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.3% (or 53,000) according to the U.S. Census Bureau
  • In Georgia, 84.5% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 83.2% of children in Asian families in Georgia were U.S. citizens, as were 86.7% of children in Latino families.

Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to Georgia’s economy. 

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Georgia’s Latinos totaled $16 billion—an increase of 1,109% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $13.3 billion—an increase of 1,100% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Georgia’s 46,222 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $14.6 billion and employed 82,186 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 32,574 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $6 billion and employed 25,874 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are integral to Georgia’s economy as workers.

  • Immigrants comprised 13% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 625,593 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 7% of the state’s workforce (or 325,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Georgia, the state would lose $21.3 billion in economic activity, $9.5 billion in gross state product, and approximately 132,460 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group. 

Unauthorized immigrants contribute to the state’s economy.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Georgia paid $359.8 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $265.5 million in sales taxes, $60.3 million in state income taxes, and $34 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in Georgia to have legal status, they would pay $456.6 million in state and local taxes, including $280.5 million in sales taxes, $138.6 million in state income taxes, and $37.4 million in property taxes.
  • The average unauthorized family in Georgia contributes between $2,340 and $2,470 in state and local sales, income, and property taxes, according to a 2006 study by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. An unauthorized family that does not pay income taxes would have a sales and property tax contribution of $1,800 to $1,860.

Immigrants are integral to Georgia’s economy as students.

Naturalized citizens excel educationally.

  • In Georgia, 38.4% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 21.9% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 16.2% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 40.9% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in Georgia with a college degree increased by 90.1% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In Georgia, 86% 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 Georgia was 88.6%, while for Latino children it was 82.6%, as of 2009.

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