New Americans in Delaware
The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the First State
Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Delaware. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 8.3% of the state’s population and nearly half of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 5.8% 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 $3.5 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $1.6 billion and employed more than 7,600 people at last count. As the economy continues to grow, Delaware can ill-afford to alienate such a critical component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.
Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Delaware’s population and electorate.
- The foreign-born share of Delaware’s population rose from 3.3% in 1990, to 5.7% in 2000, to 8.3% in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Delaware was home to 76,768 immigrants in 2013.
- 45.1% of immigrants (or 34,625 people) in Delaware were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2013—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 2.4% of the state’s population (or 20,000 people) in 2012, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- 5.8% (or 27,253) of registered voters in Delaware 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.
More than 1 in 10 Delawareans are Latino or Asian.
- The Latino share of Delaware’s population grew from 2.4% in 1990, to 4.8% in 2000, to 8.7% (or 80,944 people) in 2013. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.3% in 1990, to 2.1% in 2000, to 3.6% (or 33,639 people) in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Latinos accounted for 2.3% (or 10,000) of Delaware voters in the 2012 elections, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- In Delaware, 83.9% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
- In 2009, 84.9% of children in Asian families in Delaware were U.S. citizens, as were 87.7% of children in Latino families.
Immigrant, Latino, and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Delaware’s economy.
- The 2014 purchasing power of Latinos in Delaware totaled $1.8 billion—an increase of 907% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $1.7 billion—an increase of 882% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
- Delaware’s 1,533 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $339.9 million and employed 2,129 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 2,989 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $1.3 billion and employed 5,523 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
- From 2006 to 2010, there were 3,320 new immigrant business owners in Delaware, and new immigrant business owners had total net business income of $261 million (12.6% of all net business income in the state), according to Robert Fairlie of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- In 2010, 10.6% of the state’s business owners were immigrants, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.
Immigrants are essential to Delaware’s economy as workers and taxpayers.
- Immigrants comprised 10.9% of the state’s workforce in 2013 (or 51,763 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Latinos in Delaware paid $153 million in federal taxes and $53 million in state/local taxes in 2013 according to the Partnership for a New American Economy. In particular, foreign-born Latinos paid $57 million in federal taxes and $21 million in state/local taxes in 2013.
- The federal tax contribution of Delaware’s Latino population included $123 million to Social Security and $29 million to Medicare in 2013. In particular, foreign-born Latinos contributed $48 million to Social Security and $11 million to Medicare in 2013.
Unauthorized immigrants are important to Delaware’s economy as workers and consumers.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 3.8% of the state’s workforce (or 20,000 workers) in 2012, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Delaware, the state would lose $949 million in economic activity, $421.5 million in gross state product, and approximately 6,300 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.
Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.
- Unauthorized immigrants in Delaware paid $12.4 million in state and local taxes in 2012, including $4.5 million in sales taxes, $4.3 million in personal income taxes, and $3.6 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
- Were unauthorized immigrants in Delaware to have lawful permanent residence, they would pay $18.1 million in state and local taxes, including $5 million in sales taxes, $9.2 million in personal income taxes, and $4 million in property taxes.
Immigrants are important to Delaware’s economy as students.
- Delaware’s 4,228 foreign students contributed $130 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 also contribute to innovation in Delaware. In 2009, “non-resident aliens” comprised 41.9% of master’s degrees and 55.6% of doctorate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy.
Naturalized citizens excel educationally.
- In Delaware, 47% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 31.8% of noncitizens.
- The number of immigrants in Delaware with a college degree increased by 88.1% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
- In Delaware, 88.7% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
- The English proficiency rate among Asian children in Delaware was 91.3%, while for Latino children it was 85.6%, as of 2009.