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New Americans in New Mexico

New Mexico ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Land of Enchantment (Updated May 2014)

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in New Mexico. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 1 in 10 New Mexicans, and about one-third of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 8.7% 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 $25.1 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $7.6 billion and employed more than 60,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, New Mexico 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 New Mexico’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of New Mexico’s population rose from 5.3% in 1990, to 8.2% in 2000, to 10.1% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New Mexico was home to 211,107 immigrants in 2011, which is nearly the total population of Montgomery, Alabama.
  • 32.4% of immigrants (or 68,406 people) in New Mexico were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 4.3% of the state’s population (or 85,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 8.7% (or 81,494) of registered voters in New Mexico 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 half of all New Mexicans are Latino or Asian.

  • The Latino share of New Mexico’s population grew from 38.2% in 1990, to 42.1% in 2000, to 46.7% (or 973,051 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 0.9% in 1990, to 1.1% in 2000, to 1.2% (or 25,637 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 34.2% (or 289,000) of New Mexico voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.7% (14,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of Latino and Asian voters was more than double the margin of victory (125,590 votes) by which Barack Obama defeated John McCain in New Mexico.
  • In New Mexico, 85.2% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 90.7% of children in Asian families in New Mexico were U.S. citizens, as were 94.7% of children in Latino families.

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

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in New Mexico totaled $23.6 billion—an increase of 379% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $1.5 billion—an increase of 705.5% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • New Mexico’s 37,195 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $6.5 billion and employed 50,021 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 3,321 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $1.1 billion and employed 10,739 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are integral to New Mexico’s economy as workers. 

  • Immigrants comprised 12.7% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 125,569 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 5.6% of the state’s workforce (or 50,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center. 
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from New Mexico, the state would lose $1.8 billion in economic activity, $809.1 million in gross state product, and approximately 12,239 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group. 

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes. 

  • Unauthorized immigrants in New Mexico paid $86.7 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes $3.4 million in state income taxes, $8.1 million in property taxes, and $75.3 million in sales taxes. 
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in New Mexico to have legal status, they would pay $93.2 million in state and local taxes, including $79.2 million in sales taxes, $5.4 million in state income taxes, and $8.6 million in property taxes.

Immigrants are integral to New Mexico’s economy as students.

Naturalized citizens excel educationally.

  • In New Mexico, 20.3% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 9.7% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in New Mexico with a college degree increased by 42.7% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In New Mexico, 79% 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 New Mexico was 88.1%, while for Latino children it was 91.1%, as of 2009.

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