Immigrants in East Texas


September 20, 2023


September 20, 2023

New research from the American Immigration Council highlights the crucial role immigrants play in the East Texas region as taxpayers, consumers, entrepreneurs, and more. Collectively, immigrants living in the East Texas region contributed $312.2 million in taxes, held over $1.0 billion in spending power, and helped fill workforce gaps in different key industries including construction, hospitality, and manufacturing, which are critical to maintaining the vibrant East Texan economy. The new report, Immigrants in East Texas, was prepared in partnership with Texans for Economic Growth, a statewide 145+ member business coalition powered by the American Immigration Council, and the Longview Chamber of Commerce. The report focuses on East Texas communities, including Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood counties.

 For more information, see our press release

  • Immigrants are helping the region meet its labor force demands and will help meet future needs. In 2021, 84.2 percent of immigrants in the region were of working age, in contrast to 59.5 percent of the U.S.-born population. Immigrants made up 7.2 percent of the region’s population yet, accounted for 9.9 percent of the working age population and 10.2 percent of its employed labor force. This means immigrants played an outsized role in the region’s labor force.
  • Immigrants play a significant role in the region as entrepreneurs. Immigrants represented 15.6 percent of business owners in East Texas in 2021. Immigrants in the region were 61.7 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs than their U.S.-born counterparts. Approximately 4,000 immigrant entrepreneurs generated $99.4 million in business income for the region.
  • Immigrants in the East Texas region contributed millions in taxes and consumer spending. In 2021, immigrant households earned $1.4 billion in income, with $188.4 million going to federal taxes and $123.8 million going to state and local taxes, leaving them with $1.1 billion in spending power that can be reinvested in local communities.
  • DACA-Eligible immigrants play a significant role in the East Texas economy. In 2019, DACA-eligible households earned $35 million in income, paid nearly $7 million in taxes, and held $28.2 million in spending power.
  • Immigrants are helping East Texas meet rising labor needs in key industries across the skill spectrum. While making up 7.2 percent of the overall population in 2021, immigrants represented 27.1 percent of construction workers, 15.9 percent of hospitality workers, and 14.8 percent of manufacturing workers. 

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