New Americans in Connecticut
The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Constitution State
Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Connecticut. Nearly 1 in 7 Connecticuters are immigrants (foreign-born), and almost half of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 14.7% of registered voters in the state. Immigrants are not only integral to the state’s economy as workers, but also account for billions of dollars in tax revenue and consumer purchasing power. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $21.7 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $5.8 billion and employed more than 30,000 people at last count. Immigrant, Latino, and Asian workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs are integral to Connecticut’s economy and tax base—and they are an electoral force with which every politician must reckon.
Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Connecticut’s population and electorate.
- The foreign-born share of Connecticut’s population rose from 8.5% in 1990, to 10.9% in 2000, to 13.9% in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Connecticut was home to 499,643 immigrants in 2013, which is more than the total population of Sacramento, California.
- 49% of immigrants (or 244,730 people) in Connecticut were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2013—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 3.5% of the state’s population (or 130,000 people) in 2012, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- 14.7% (or 258,917) of registered voters in Connecticut were “New Americans”—naturalized citizens or the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were raised during the current era of immigration from Latin America and Asia which began in 1965—according to an analysis of 2012 Census Bureau data by the American Immigration Council.
Roughly 1 in 6 Connecticuters are Latino or Asian.
- The Latino share of Connecticut’s population grew from 6.5% in 1990, to 9.4% in 2000, to 14.7% (or 527,163 people) in 2013. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.5% in 1990, to 2.4% in 2000, to 4.1% (or 147,570 people) in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Latinos accounted for 6.6% (or 103,000) of Connecticut voters in the 2012 elections, and Asians 1.5% (23,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- In Connecticut, 86.2% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
- In 2009, 86.3% of children in Asian families in Connecticut were U.S. citizens, as were 94.4% of children in Latino families.
Immigrant, Latino, and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to Connecticut’s economy.
- The 2014 purchasing power of Latinos in Connecticut totaled $13.4 billion—an increase of 481% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $8.3 billion—an increase of 684% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
- Immigration boosts housing values in communities. From 2000 to 2010, according to the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, the value added by immigration to the price of the average home was $2,961 in Hartford County, $2,691 in New Haven County, and $3,862 in Fairfield County.
- Connecticut’s 14,081 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $2.5 billion and employed 11,872 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 11,081 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $3.3 billion and employed 18,838 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
- From 2006 to 2010, there were 31,320 new immigrant business owners in Connecticut, and new immigrant business owners had total net business income of $2.1 billion (which is 15% of all net business income in the state), according to Robert Fairlie of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- In 2010, 16% of all business owners in Connecticut were foreign-born, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.
- In the Hartford metropolitan area, 18.3% of business owners were foreign-born in 2013, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute and Americans Society/Council of the Americas. Furthermore, 28.6% of “Main Street” business owners—owners of businesses in the retail, accommodation and food services, and neighborhood services sectors—in the Hartford metro area were foreign-born in 2013.
Immigrants are essential to Connecticut’s economy as workers and taxpayers.
- Immigrants comprised 17.3% of the state’s workforce in 2013 (or 338,227 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Latinos in Connecticut paid $1.3 billion in federal taxes and $805 million in state/local taxes in 2013 according to the Partnership for a New American Economy. In particular, foreign-born Latinos paid $507 million in federal taxes and $317 million in state/local taxes in 2013.
- The federal tax contribution of Connecticut’s Latino population included $1 billion to Social Security and $244 million to Medicare in 2013. In particular, foreign-born Latinos contributed $407 million to Social Security and $95 million to Medicare in 2013.
Unauthorized immigrants are integral to Connecticut’s economy as workers.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 5.1% of the state’s workforce (or 100,000 workers) in 2012, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Connecticut, the state would lose $5.6 billion in economic activity, $2.5 billion in gross state product, and approximately 24,119 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.
Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.
- Unauthorized immigrants in Connecticut paid $136.6 million in state and local taxes in 2012, including $67.1 million in sales taxes, $15.5 million in personal income taxes, and $53.9 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
- Were unauthorized immigrants in Connecticut to have lawful permanent residence, they would pay $158.4 million in state and local taxes, including $73.9 million in sales taxes, $25.2 million in personal income taxes, and $59.3 million in property taxes.
Immigrants are integral to Connecticut’s economy as students.
- Connecticut’s 10,530 foreign students contributed $375.5 million to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses for the 2013-2014 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
- Foreign students contribute to Connecticut’s metropolitan areas. From 2008 to 2012, according to the Brookings Institution, 5,444 foreign students paid $161 million in tuition and $86 million in living costs in the New Haven-Milford metropolitan area. In the Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford metro area, 4,205 foreign students paid $115 million in tuition and $59 million in living costs.
- Foreign students also contribute to innovation in Connecticut. In 2009, “non-resident aliens” comprised 60.6% of master’s degrees and 41.4% of doctorate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy.
Immigrants excel educationally.
- The number of immigrants in Connecticut with a college degree increased by 60.9% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
- In Connecticut, 82.9% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2011, according to data from the Urban Institute.