Immigrants in Nevada

October 6, 2015

Nevada has experienced positive growth throughout the state fueled by immigration. Immigrants are a vital part of the state’s labor force across sectors, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all workers in the hotel and food services industry as well as over a quarter of those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry. Nearly 20 percent of the state’s residents are immigrants themselves, while another 17 percent are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Nevada’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

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

  • In 2015, 558,170 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 19.3 percent of the state’s population in 2015.
  • Nevada was home to 284,024 women, 251,769 men, and 22,377 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were Mexico (39.5 percent of immigrants), the Philippines (14.3 percent), El Salvador (5.2 percent), China (3.1 percent), and Cuba (3 percent).
  • In 2016, 457,213 people in Nevada (16 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Nearly half of all immigrants in Nevada are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 261,316 immigrants (46.8 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 102,609 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • More than two-thirds of immigrants (69.9 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants in Nevada are distributed across the educational spectrum.

  • Nearly one-fifth of adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2015, while just under one-third had less than a high school diploma.

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

18.9

25.2

Some college

23.1

37.9

High school diploma only

26.4

28.4

Less than a high-school diploma

31.7

8.5

More than 100,000 U.S. citizens in Nevada live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 210,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 36 percent of the immigrant population and 7.2 percent of the total state population in 2014.
  • 254,400 people in Nevada, including 117,210 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, more than one in seven children in the state was a U.S.-citizen child living with at least one undocumented family member (95,973 children in total).

More than 12,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients live in Nevada.

  • As of 2016, 87 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Nevada, or 14,139 people, had applied for DACA.
  • An additional 6,000 residents of the state satisfied all but the educational requirements for DACA, and another 3,000 would be eligible as they grew older.

Immigrants make up over a fourth of Nevada’s entire workforce.

  • 367,413 immigrant workers comprised 25.5 percent of the labor force in 2015.
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Accommodation and Food Services

112,571

Retail Trade

43,088

Arts Entertainment and Recreation

36,265

Construction

35,183

Health Care and Social Assistance

27,612

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)

Accommodation and Food Services

39.7

Construction

33.2

Management of Companies and Enterprises

30.7

Manufacturing

29.2

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

27.2

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 Nevada workforce in a range of occupations.

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

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Food Preparation and Serving Related

63,264

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

56,086

Sales and Related

44,485

Office and Administrative Support

38,809

Personal Care and Service

31,730

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)

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

55.3

Production

36.5

Food Preparation and Serving Related

36.2

Construction and Extraction

33.8

Personal Care and Service

29.8

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

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 10.4 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

Immigrants in Nevada have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

  • Immigrant-led households in the state paid $2.2 billion in federal taxes and $733.5 million in state and local taxes in 2014.
  • Undocumented immigrants in Nevada paid an estimated $86.1 million in state and local taxes in 2014. Their contribution would rise to $94.7 million if they could receive legal status.
  • DACA recipients in Nevada paid an estimated $17.5 million in state and local taxes in 2016.

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

  • Nevada residents in immigrant-led households had $10.3 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

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

  • 32,198 immigrant business owners accounted for 25.1 percent of all self-employed Nevada residents in 2015 and generated $556 million in business income.
  • In 2015, immigrants accounted for 25.3 percent of business owners in the Las Vegas/Paradise metropolitan area.

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