New Americans in Idaho
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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and population in Idaho. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 6% of the state’s population, and one-third of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 4.2% 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 $4.1 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $939.5 million and employed more than 7,300 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Idaho can ill-afford to alienate such an important component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.
Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Idaho’s population and electorate.
- The foreign-born share of Idaho’s population rose from 2.9% in 1990, to 5.0% in 2000, to 6% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Idaho was home to 95,386 immigrants in 2011.
- 32.5% of immigrants (or 31,019 people) in Idaho were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 2.2% of the state’s population (or 35,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- 4.2% (or 30,347) of registered voters in Idaho 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 8 Idahoans are Latino or Asian.
- The Latino share of Idaho’s population grew from 5.3% in 1990, to 7.9% in 2000, to 11.5% (or 181,740 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 0.8% in 1990, to 0.9% in 2000, to 1.3% (or 20,913 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Latinos accounted for 4.7% (or 30,000) of Idaho voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 0.9% (6,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- In Idaho, 85.8% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
- In 2009, 84.7% of children in Asian families in Idaho were U.S. citizens, as were 94% of children in Latino families.
Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Idaho’s economy.
- The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Idaho totaled $3.5 billion—an increase of 779% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $634 million—an increase of 466% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
- Idaho’s 3,875 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $457.3 million and employed 4,145 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 1,269 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $482.2 million and employed 3,185 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
Immigrants are integral to Idaho’s economy as workers and taxpayers.
- Immigrants comprised 7.5% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 57,247 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 2.8% of the state’s workforce (or 20,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Idaho, the state would lose $428.8 million in economic activity, $190.4 million in gross state product, and approximately 3,060 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.
Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.
- Unauthorized immigrants in Idaho paid $26.7 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $21.7 million in sales taxes, $2.6 million in state income taxes, and $2.4 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
- Were unauthorized immigrants in Idaho to have legal status, they would pay $32.2 million in state and local taxes, including $23.1 million in sales taxes, $6.8 million in state income taxes, and $2.4 million in property taxes.
Immigrants are important to Idaho’s economy as students.
- Idaho’s 2,956 foreign students contributed $60.2 million to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses for the 2011-2012 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Naturalized citizens excel educationally.
- In Idaho, 24.5% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 14% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 24.9% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 55% of noncitizens.
- The number of immigrants in Idaho with a college degree increased by 124.8% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
- In Idaho, 82% 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 Idaho was 89.8%, while for Latino children it was 89.1%, as of 2009.
Published On: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 | Download File
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