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New Americans in Massachusetts

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

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Massachusetts. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up roughly 1 in 7 Bay Staters, and more than half of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 12.2% 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 $33.1 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $9.2 billion and employed more than 65,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is in a slump, Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Massachusetts’s population rose from 9.5% in 1990, to 12.2% in 2000, to 14.9% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Massachusetts was home to 983,389 immigrants in 2011, which is more than the total population of San Jose, California.
  • 51% of immigrants (or 501,139 people) in Massachusetts were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 2.4% of the state’s population (or fewer than 160,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 12.2% (or 401,766) of registered voters in Massachusetts 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 7 Bay Staters are Latino or Asian—and they vote.

  • The Latino share of Massachusetts’s population grew from 4.8% in 1990, to 6.8% in 2000, to 9.9% (or 649,272 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 2.4% in 1990, to 3.8% in 2000, to 5.6% (or 365,968 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 2.5% (or 77,000) of Massachusetts voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 2.5% (76,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In Massachusetts, 87.9% of children of immigrants were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 89.1% of children in Asian families in Massachusetts were U.S. citizens, as were 93.1% of children in Latino families.

Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to the Massachusetts economy.

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Asians in Massachusetts totaled $17.8 billion—an increase of 743.8% since 1990. Latino buying power totaled $15.3 billion—an increase of 505.3% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Massachusetts’s 26,578 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $6.8 billion and employed 48,982 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 19,410 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $2.4 billion and employed 16,628 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are integral to Massachusetts’s economy as workers and taxpayers.

  • Immigrants comprised 17.9% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 647,640 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Immigrants accounted for 16% of total economic output in the Boston metropolitan area as of 2007, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute.
  • Immigrant-headed households in Massachusetts paid $1.2 billion in state income taxes in 2005, according to a report by the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.
  • Immigrant-headed households in Massachusetts paid $346 million in sales and excise taxes in 2006 and nearly $1.1 billion in local property taxes in 2007, according to the same study.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 3.7% of the state’s workforce (or 130,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Massachusetts, the state would lose $12.0 billion in economic activity, $5.3 billion in gross state product, and approximately 55,467 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Massachusetts paid $137.9 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
    • $37.9 million in state income taxes.
    • $18.6 million in property taxes.
    • $81.4 million in sales taxes.

Immigrants are integral to Massachusetts’s economy as students.

  • Massachusetts’s 41,258 foreign students contributed $1.5 billion to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses for the 2011-2012 academic year, according to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Immigrants excel educationally.

  • The number of immigrants in Massachusetts with a college degree increased by 57.5% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In Massachusetts, 87.2% 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 Massachusetts was 85.7%, while for Latino children it was 85.6%, as of 2009.

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