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New Americans in Utah

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

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for large and growing shares of the economy and population in Utah. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 8.4% 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 5.4% of registered voters in the state. Immigrants are not only integral to the state’s economy as workers, but also account for tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and consumer purchasing power. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $9.5 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $2.6 billion and employed more than 20,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Utah 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 Utah’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Utah’s population rose from 3.4% in 1990, to 7.1% in 2000, to 8.4% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Utah was home to 238,043 immigrants in 2011, which more than the total population of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  • 36.2% of immigrants (or 86,081 people) in Utah were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 3.8% of the state’s population (or 110,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 5.4% (or 57,018) of registered voters in Utah 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 Utahans are Latino or Asian—and they vote.

  • The Latino share of Utah’s population grew from 4.9% in 1990, to 9.0% in 2000, to 13.2% (or 372,913 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.5% in 1990, to 1.7% in 2000, to 2.0% (or 56,679 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 2.2% (or 21,000) of Utah voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.2% (11,000) according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In Utah, 87.1% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 94% of children in Asian families in Utah were U.S. citizens, as were 90% of children in Latino families.

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

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Utah totaled $7 billion—an increase of 846% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $2.5 billion—an increase of 625% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Utah’s 4,646 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $1.3 billion and employed 12,561 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 9,238 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $1.3 billion and employed 7,850 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Mexican immigrants are integral to Utah’s economy as taxpayers.

  • Mexican immigrants in Utah “own property valued at $984 million,” have more than $1.0 billion in purchasing power, and paid more than $67 million in state and local taxes in 2000, according to a report by the Institute of Public and International Affairs at the University of Utah, including:
    • $7.5 million in income tax;
    • $52.2 million in sales tax; and
    • $7.6 million in property tax.

Immigrants are integral to Utah’s economy as workers.

  • Immigrants comprised 11.6% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 159,067 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 5.4% of the state’s workforce (or 75,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Utah, the state would lose $2.3 billion in economic activity, $1.0 billion in gross state product, and approximately 14,219 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Utah paid $105.4 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
    • $22.3 million in state income taxes.
    • $5.5 million in property taxes.
    • $77.6 million in sales taxes.

Immigrants are integral to Utah’s economy as students.

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups of new converts to the Mormon Church.

  • Hispanics are now more that half of the 14 million Mormons claimed by the church worldwide and will make up the majority by 2025, according to some estimates.

Naturalized citizens excel educationally.

  • In Utah, 26.7% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 17.1% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 24.5% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 40.6% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in Utah with a college degree increased by 69.7% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In Utah, 85.3% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, to data from the Urban Institute.
  • The English proficiency rate among Asian children in Utah was 93.3%, while for Latino children it was 87.4%, as of 2009.

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