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New Americans in Nebraska

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

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and population in Nebraska. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 6.3% of the state’s population, and more than one-third of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 3.2% of registered voters in the state. Immigrants not only contribute 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 $5 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of more than $1.2 billion and employed 8,500 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Nebraska can ill-afford to alienate an important component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.

Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Nebraska’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Nebraska’s population rose from 1.8% in 1990, to 4.4% in 2000, to 6.3% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nebraska was home to 116,124 immigrants in 2011, which is nearly the same as the population of Berkeley, California.
  • 35.5% of immigrants (or 41,259 people) in Nebraska were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 2.4% of the state’s population (or 45,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 3.2% (or 30,038) of registered voters in Nebraska 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 9 Nebraskans are Latino or Asian.

  • The Latino share of Nebraska’s population grew from 2.3% in 1990, to 5.5% in 2000, to 9.4% (or 173,430 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 0.8% in 1990, to 1.3% in 2000, to 1.9% (or 34,517 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 2.8% (or 24,000) of Nebraska voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 0.9% (or 8,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In Nebraska, 85.3% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 87.3% of children in Asian families in Nebraska were U.S. citizens, as were 92.5% of children in Latino families.

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

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Nebraska totaled $3.7 billion—an increase of 984% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $1.3 billion—an increase of 812% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Nebraska’s 2,277 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $483.6 million and employed 5,425 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 3,063 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $786.7 million and employed 3,351 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants make vital economic contributions to Nebraska’s state and local economy.

  • Immigrant spending accounted for $1.6 billion worth of total production in Nebraska’s economy and generated roughly 12,000 jobs for the state in 2006, according to a study from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
  • Immigrant spending made a large impact on the state’s local economies in 2006, including:
    • $1.14 billion in production and 8,331 jobs in Omaha and Lincoln.
    • $204 million in production and 1,275 jobs in Nebraska’s Eastern region.
    • $238 million in production and 1,896 jobs in Nebraska’s Western region.
  • Nebraska’s immigrants also contributed roughly $154 million in property, income, sales, and gas tax revenue in 2006, according to the same study.
  • Unauthorized immigrants in Nebraska paid $43.3 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
    • $6.8 million in state income taxes.
    • $4.4 million in property taxes.
    • $32.1 million in sales taxes.

Immigrants are integral to Nebraska’s economy as workers.

  • Immigrants comprised 7.5% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 76,099 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 3% of the state’s workforce (or 30,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Nebraska, the state would lose $852.4 million in economic activity, $378.6 million in gross state product, and approximately 5,400 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Immigrants are integral to Nebraska’s economy as students.

Naturalized citizens excel educationally.

  • The number of immigrants in Nebraska with a college degree increased by 67.6% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In Nebraska, 75% 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 Nebraska was 83.2%, while for Latino children it was 81.7%, as of 2009.

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