Immigrants in Vermont

October 5, 2017

Vermont has a small but growing community of immigrants, the majority hailing from Canada. While nearly 5 percent of the state’s residents are immigrants, they are a vital share of Vermont’s labor force. The agriculture industry—an economic mainstay in Vermont—relies on immigrants for over 10 percent of its employees, while roughly 15 percent of all community and social service personnel are immigrants. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Vermont’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

Immigrants make up over 4 percent of Vermont’s population, while nearly 7 percent of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 28,247 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 4.5 percent of the state’s population.
  • Vermont was home to 13,395 women, 12,760 men, and 2,092 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were Canada (14.9 percent of immigrants), Bosnia and Herzegovina (8.1 percent), Mexico (6.2 percent), Germany (5.1 percent), and Nepal (4.5 percent).
  • In 2016, 40,788 people in Vermont (6.7 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Over half of all immigrants in Vermont are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 15,464 immigrants (54.8 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 6,485 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • The vast majority of immigrants (89.5 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants and natives in Vermont have similar levels of education.

  • Over one-third of adult immigrants had a college degree or more in 2015, while 15 percent had less than a high school diploma. 

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

36.9

36.9

Some college

27.5

25.7

High school diploma only

20.4

29.4

Less than a high-school diploma

15.1

8.0

More than 1,000 U.S. citizens in Vermont live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • In 2014, fewer than 5,000 undocumented immigrants lived in Vermont, comprising 8 percent of the immigrant population and 0.3 percent of the total state population.
  • 3,258 people in Vermont, including 1,199 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, 1 percent of children in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (882 children in total).

Fewer than 100 Vermont residents have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

  • In 2017, Vermont was home to an estimated 10 active DACA recipients, while approximately 63 residents had applied for DACA to date.

Immigrants are an integral part of the Vermont workforce across industries.

  • 16,185 immigrant workers comprised 5 percent of the labor force in 2015.
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Health Care and Social Assistance

4,771

Manufacturing

2,402

Accommodation and Food Services

2,076

Retail Trade

1,444

Educational Services

1,348

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)

Real Estate Rental and Leasing

12.8

Mining, Quarry, Oil & Gas Extract

10.9

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

10.9

Health Care and Social Assistance

7.8

Transportation and Warehousing

7.3

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

Immigrants are critical to the Vermont labor force in a range of occupations.

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

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Sales and Related

1,945

Transportation and Material Moving

1,697

Production

1,506

Healthcare Practitioners, Technologists, and Technicians

1,371

Community and Social Service

1,265

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)

Community and Social Service

14.5

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

13.4

Computer and Mathematical Sciences

9.3

Protective Service

8.4

Healthcare Support

8.4

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

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised less than half of one percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

Immigrants in Vermont have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

  • Immigrant-led households in the state paid $134.4 million in federal taxes and $57.9 million in state and local taxes in 2014.
  • Undocumented immigrants in Vermont paid an estimated $2.9 million in state and local taxes in 2014. Their contribution would rise to $3.4 million if they could receive legal status.
  • DACA recipients in Vermont paid an estimated $140,000 in state and local taxes in 2016.

As consumers, immigrants add hundreds of millions of dollars to Vermont’s economy.

  • Vermont residents in immigrant-led households had $462.5 million in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Vermont generate tens of millions of dollars in business revenue.

  • 2,640 immigrant business owners accounted for 5.3 percent of all self-employed Vermont residents in 2015 and generated $55.4 million in business income.

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