Immigrants in Arizona

August 30, 2017

Arizona has a growing population of immigrants, making up more than 12 percent of the state’s residents. While one in six Arizona workers is an immigrant, state industries like agriculture depend on an even greater share of immigrants. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Arizona’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

More than one in eight Arizona residents is an immigrant, while nearly one in five is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 914,400 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 13.4 percent of the population.
  • Arizona was home to 452,530 women, 413,289 men, and 48,581 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were Mexico (56.1 percent of immigrants), Canada (4.2 percent), India (4.1 percent), the Philippines (2.9 percent), and Vietnam (2.7 percent).
  • In 2016, 1.2 million people in Arizona (18.4 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Over 40 percent of all immigrants in Arizona are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 380,187 immigrants had naturalized as of 2015, and 205,923 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • More than two-thirds of immigrants (69.6 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants in Arizona are distributed across the educational spectrum.

  • One in five adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2015, while one in three had less than a high school diploma. 

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

21.2

29.1

Some college

19.4

37.0

High school diploma only

22.5

24.9

Less than a high-school diploma

36.9

9.0

More than a quarter-million U.S. citizens in Arizona live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • Roughly 325,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 35 percent of the immigrant population and 4.9 percent of the total state population in 2015.
  • 466,047 people in Arizona, including 232,241 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, one in nine children in the state was a U.S.-citizen child living with at least one undocumented family member (192,896 children in total).

Nearly 28,000 Arizona residents have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

  • As of 2016, 88 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Arizona, or 30,652 people, had applied for DACA.
  • An additional 11,000 residents of the state satisfied all but the educational requirements for DACA, and another 6,000 would be eligible as they grew older.

One in six workers in Arizona is an immigrant, together making up an integral part of the state’s labor force in a range of industries.

  • 524,203 immigrant workers comprised 16.6 percent of the labor force in 2015.
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:
     

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Construction

67,752

Health Care and Social Assistance

64,089

Accommodation and Food Services

63,331

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

58,510

Retail Trade

57,144

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

 

  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following industries:

Industry

Immigrant Share (%)

(of all industry workers)

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

45.3

Construction

26.7

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

25.9

Other Services (except Public Administration)

23.3

Manufacturing

21.1

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

Immigrants are an integral part of the Arizona workforce in a range of occupations.

  • In 2015, immigrant workers were most numerous in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

76,563

Construction and Extraction

60,947

Office and Administrative Support

50,261

Food Preparation and Serving Related

49,036

Sales and Related

48,011

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

 

  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Immigrant Share (%)

(of all workers in occupation)

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

52.5

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

42.1

Construction and Extraction

31.6

Production

25.8

Personal Care and Service

19.4

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 6.6 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.


Immigrants in Arizona have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

As consumers, immigrants add billions of dollars to Arizona’s economy.

  • Arizonans in immigrant-led households had $16 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Arizona generate billions of dollars in business revenue.

  • 70,916 immigrant business owners accounted for 21.9 percent of all self-employed Arizona residents in 2015 and generated more than $1.8 billion in business income.
  • Immigrants accounted for 22.7 percent of business owners in the Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale metropolitan area in 2015.

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