Immigrants in Nevada

August 6, 2020

Nevada has experienced positive growth throughout the state fueled by immigration. Nearly one-fifth of the state’s residents were born in a foreign country, while one-sixth of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent. The majority of immigrants speak English well and are naturalized citizens.

Immigrants are a vital part of the state’s labor force across sectors, accounting for nearly two-fifths of all workers in the hotel and food services industry as well as nearly a third of those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry. As neighbors, business owners, taxpayers, and workers, immigrants are an integral part of Nevada’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

One in five Nevada residents is an immigrant, while one in six residents is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2018, 587,686 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 19 percent of the population.
  • Nevada was home to 297,865 women, 267,865 men, and 21,956 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were Mexico (39 percent of immigrants), the Philippines (15 percent), El Salvador (4 percent), Cuba (3 percent), and China (3 percent).
  • In 2018, 465,843 people in Nevada (16 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Half of all immigrants in Nevada are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 302,223 immigrants (51 percent) had naturalized as of 2018, and 109,304 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2017.
  • Three in four (76 percent) of immigrants reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants in Nevada are distributed across the educational spectrum.

  • More than one-fifth (22 percent) of adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2018, while more than one-fourth (29 percent) had less than a high school diploma. 

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

22

26

Some college

23

38

High school diploma only

27

28

Less than a high school diploma

29

8

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.

Nearly 136,000 U.S. citizens in Nevada live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 210,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 35 percent of the immigrant population and 7 percent of the total state population in 2016.
  • 254,400 people in Nevada, including 135,752 U.S. citizens, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, about one in seven children in the state was a U.S. citizen living with at least one undocumented family member (95,973 children in total).

Nevada is home to thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

  • 12,100 active DACA recipients lived in Nevada as of March 2020, while DACA has been granted to 14,278 people in total since 2012.
  • As of 2019, 73 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Nevada had applied for DACA.
  • An additional 5,000 residents of the state would satisfy all but the educational requirements for DACA, and fewer than 1,000 would become eligible as they grew older.

One in four Nevada workers is an immigrant, making up a vital part of the state’s labor force.

  • 385,184 immigrant workers comprised 25 percent of the labor force in 2018. 
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Accommodation and Food Services

94,982

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

44,430

Retail Trade

42,877

Construction

40,746

Health Care and Social Assistance

39,381

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 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)

Accommodation and Food Services

37

Construction

32

Other Services (except Public Administration)

31

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

30

Administrative & Support; Waste Management and Remediation Services

29

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

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

  • In 2018, immigrant workers were most numerous in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

61,040

Food Preparation and Serving Related

59,865

Sales and Related

43,872

Transportation and Material Moving

38,855

Construction and Extraction

37,727

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 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)

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

60

Construction and Extraction

37

Food Preparation and Serving Related

36

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

35

Personal Care and Service

30

Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 11 percent of Nevada’s workforce in 2016.

Immigrants in Nevada have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

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

  • Nevada residents in immigrant-led households had $13.7 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2018.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Nevada generate over a billion dollars in business revenue.

  • 43,704 immigrant business owners accounted for 30 percent of all self-employed Nevada residents in 2018 and generated $1.3 billion in business income.
  • In 2018, immigrants accounted for 30 percent of business owners in the Las Vegas/Paradise metropolitan area.

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