Immigrants in Connecticut

August 6, 2020

Connecticut has a sizable community of immigrants, with many hailing from India and Jamaica. About 15 percent of Connecticut residents were born in another country, and 16 percent of residents are native-born Americans who have at least one immigrant parent. Immigrants support Connecticut’s economy across sectors, comprising nearly one-third of all computer and math sciences employees and more than two-fifths of residents working in cleaning and maintenance of building and grounds. As neighbors, business owners, taxpayers, and workers, immigrants are an integral part of Connecticut’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

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

  • In 2018, 520,262 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 15 percent of the population.
  • Connecticut was home to 257,175 women, 235,611 men, and 27,476 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were India (9 percent of immigrants), Jamaica (7 percent), Dominican Republic (5 percent), Poland (5 percent), and Ecuador (5 percent).
  • In 2018, 564,663 people in Connecticut (16 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

More than half of all immigrants in Connecticut are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 275,693 immigrants (53 percent) had naturalized as of 2018, and 95,482 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2017.
  • Four out of five (81 percent) immigrants reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants in Connecticut tend to be college educated.

  • More than one-third (37 percent) of adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2018, while about one-fifth (19 percent) had less than a high school diploma. 

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

37

40

Some college

19

26

High school diploma only

26

27

Less than a high school diploma

19

7

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

Nearly 60,000 U.S. citizens in Connecticut live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 120,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 23 percent of the immigrant population and 4 percent of the total state population in 2016.
  • 143,784 people in Connecticut, including 58,893 U.S. citizens, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, about 1 in 20 children in the state was a U.S. citizen living with at least one undocumented family member (40,930 children in total).

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

  • 3,560 active DACA recipients lived in Connecticut as of March 2020, while DACA has been granted to 4,886 people in total since 2012.
  • As of 2019, 33 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Connecticut had applied for DACA.
  • In addition, fewer than 2,000 residents of the state would satisfy all but the educational requirements for DACA and less than 1,000 would additionally become eligible as they grew older.

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

  • 346,897 immigrant workers comprised 18 percent of the labor force in 2018.
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Health Care and Social Assistance

55,822

Manufacturing

45,565

Retail Trade

34,127

Educational Services

31,219

Construction

30,747

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)

Mining, Quarrying, and Oil & Gas Extraction

31

Administrative & Support; Waste Management; and Remediation Services

31

Construction

24

Other Services (except Public Administration)

22

Accommodation and Food Services

20

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 Connecticut 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

40,924

Management

38,456

Sales and Related

30,259

Production

27,212

Construction and Extraction

26,320

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

44

Computer and Mathematical

30

Construction and Extraction

28

Healthcare Support

27

Production

26

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 5 percent of Connecticut’s workforce in 2016.

Immigrants in Connecticut have contributed billions of dollars in taxes.

  • Immigrant-led households in the state paid $4.8 billion in federal taxes and $2.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2018.
  • Undocumented immigrants in Connecticut paid an estimated $335.4 million in federal taxes and $197.4 million in state and local taxes in 2018.
  • Connecticut DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals paid an estimated $13.9 million in state and local taxes in 2018.

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

  • Connecticut residents in immigrant-led households had $16.1 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2018.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Connecticut generate over $1 billion in business revenue.

  • 47,440 immigrant business owners accounted for 24 percent of all self-employed Connecticut residents in 2018 and generated $1.2 billion in business income.

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