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New Americans in North Dakota

North Dakota ThumbThe Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Peace Garden State (Updated May 2014)

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of North Dakota’s population and economy. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 2.4% of the state’s population, and nearly two-fifths of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. Immigrants not only contribute to the state’s economy as workers, but also account for millions of dollars in tax revenue and consumer purchasing power. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $694.4 million in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $171.8 million and employed more than 2,100 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, North Dakota can ill-afford to alienate such a significant component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.

Immigrants and their children are growing shares of North Dakota’s population.

  • The foreign-born share of North Dakota’s population rose from 1.5% in 1990, to 1.9% in 2000, to 2.4% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. North Dakota was home to 16,626 immigrants in 2011.
  • 35.1% of immigrants (or 5,837 people) in North Dakota were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised less than 0.5% of the state’s population (or fewer than 10,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center. 
  • 1.1% (or 4,384) of registered voters in North Dakota 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 22,000 North Dakotans are Latino or Asian.

  • The Latino share of North Dakota’s population grew from 0.7% in 1990, to 1.2% in 2000, to 2.2% (or 14,923 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 0.5% in 1990, to 0.6% in 2000, to 1.0% (or 7,070 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In North Dakota, 80.9% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.

Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to North Dakota’s economy.

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in North Dakota totaled $357.6 million—an increase of 1,018.8% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $336.8 million—an increase of 742.5% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • North Dakota’s 287 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $20.5 million and employed 651 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 412 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $151.3 million and employed 1,469 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are important to North Dakota’s economy as workers.

  • Immigrants comprised 2.7% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 10,094 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Unauthorized immigrants contribute to North Dakota’s economy as workers and consumers.

  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised less than 0.5% of the state’s workforce (or fewer than 10,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center. 
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from North Dakota, the state would lose $55.1 million in economic activity, $24.5 million in gross state product, and approximately 360 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group. 

Immigrants contribute to North Dakota’s economy as students.

Immigrants excel educationally.

  • The number of immigrants in North Dakota with a college degree increased by 58.7% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In 2011, 45.8% of North Dakota’s foreign-born population age 25 and older had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 25.8% of native-born persons above age 25.
  • In North Dakota, 77.8% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.



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