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New Americans in Louisiana

Louisiana ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Pelican State (Updated May 2013)

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for large and growing shares of the economy and population in Louisiana. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 3.8% of the state’s population, and 40.1% of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 1.7% of all registered voters in the state. Immigrants are not only integral to the state’s economy as workers, but also account for tens of million of dollars in tax revenue and consumer purchasing power. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $9.2 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $5.2 billion and employed more than 33,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is in a slump, Louisiana 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 Louisiana’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Louisiana’s population rose from 2.1% in 1990, to 2.6% in 2000, to 3.8% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Louisiana was home to 173,778 immigrants in 2011, which is nearly the population of Jackson, Mississippi.
  • 40.1% of immigrants (or 69,745 people) in Louisiana were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 1.4% of the state’s population (or 65,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 1.7% (or 40,677) of registered voters in Louisiana 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.

Roughly 1 in 17 Louisianans are Latino or Asian.

  • The Latino share of Louisiana’s population grew from 2.2% in 1990, to 2.4% in 2000, to 4.3% (or 197,866 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.0% in 1990, to 1.2% in 2000, to 1.6% (or 72,484 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 1.5% (or 32,000) of Louisiana voters in the 2008 elections, and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In Louisiana, 87.2% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 88.7% of children in Asian families in Louisiana were U.S. citizens, as were 91.2% of children in Latino families.

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

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Louisiana totaled $6 billion—an increase of 403.5% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $3.2 billion—an increase of 563.4% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Louisiana’s 10,365 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $2.6 billion and employed 20,401 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 11,068 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $2.6 billion and employed 13,271 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are integral to Louisiana’s economy as workers and consumers.

  • Immigrants comprised 5% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 110,549 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 2% of the state’s workforce (or 40,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Louisiana, the state would lose $947 million in economic activity, $421 million in gross state product, and approximately 6,660 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Latino workers have been essential to rebuilding the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina.

  • The number of Latino workers in New Orleans’ reconstruction zone (Jefferson and Orleans Parishes) more than doubled from 60,000 in 2006 to 150,000 in 2008, according to a study by the Americas Society and Council of the Americas.
  • Latino workers contributed to making 86.9% of households habitable after Hurricane Katrina in six parishes surrounding New Orleans in 2008, according to the same study.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Louisiana paid $80.7 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
    • $9.5 million in state income taxes.
    • $5.7 million in property taxes.
    • $65.5 million in sales taxes.

Immigrants contribute to Louisiana’s economy as students.

Naturalized citizens excel educationally.

  • In Louisiana, 30.4% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 20.5% of noncitizens. At the same time, 19.4% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 35% of noncitizens.
  • 24.9% of Louisiana’s foreign-born population age 25 and older had a bachelor’s or higher degree in 2011, compared to 20.9% of native-born persons age 25 and older.
  • In Louisiana, 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 Louisiana was 86.4%, while for Latino children it was 88.4%, as of 2009.

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