Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council,...
New Americans in Arkansas
Download the Fact Sheet (Updated 2014)
Download the Previous Fact Sheet (From 2010)
Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for large and growing shares of the economy and population in Arkansas. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 4.4% of the state’s population, and more than one-quarter of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. Immigrants account for 5.8% of Arkansas workers and added nearly $3 billion to the state’s economy in 2004. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield roughly $5.1 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $1.7 billion and employed more than 11,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Arkansas can ill-afford to alienate such an important component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.
Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Arkansas’s population.
- The foreign-born share of Arkansas’s population rose from 1.1% in 1990, to 2.8% in 2000, to 4.4% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Arkansas was home to 128,809 immigrants in 2011, which is greater than the population of Springfield, Illinois.
- 28.2% of immigrants (or 36,376 people) in Arkansas were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised 1.8% of the state’s population (or 55,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- Arkansas had the fastest-growing Latino population of any state in the nation between 2000 and 2005, and the fourth-fastest-growing immigrant population, according to a study by the Urban Institute.
More than 7% of Arkansans are Latino or Asian.
- The Latino share of Arkansas’s population grew from 0.8% in 1990, to 3.2% in 2000, to 6.5% (or 190,047 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 0.5% in 1990, to 0.8% in 2000, to 1.2% (or 34,342 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- In Arkansas, 88.2% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
- In 2009, 91.5% of children in Asian families in Arkansas were U.S. citizens, as were 89.5% of children in Latino families.
Immigrant, Latino, and Asian entrepreneurs, consumers, and taxpayers add billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Arkansas’s economy.
- Spending by immigrants generated $2.9 billion in Arkansas business revenues in 2004, according to a study by the Urban Institute.
- Immigrants (and their U.S.-born children) paid $19 million more in taxes than they consumed in education, health services, and corrections, according to the same study.
- Households headed by unauthorized immigrants in Arkansas paid $73.3 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
- $11.0 million in state income taxes.
- $3.0 million in property taxes.
- $59.4 million in sales taxes.
- The 2012 purchasing power of Arkansas’s Latinos totaled $3.4 billion—an increase of 1,998.2% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $1.7 billion—an increase of 1,031.8% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
- Arkansas’s 5,436 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $821 million and employed 4,269 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 3,322 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $855.7 million and employed 7,285 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
Immigrants are integral to Arkansas’s economy as workers.
- Immigrants comprised 5.8% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 79,791 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Without immigrant workers, the state’s manufacturing industry output would be lowered by about $1.4 billion—or about 8 percent of the industry’s $16.2 billion total contribution to the gross state product in 2004, according to a study by the Urban Institute.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised 3.0% of the state’s workforce (or 40,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arkansas, the state would lose $798 million in economic activity, $354 million in gross state product, and approximately 6,660 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.
Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.
- Unauthorized immigrants in Arkansas paid $72.4 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $58.5 million in sales taxes, $9.4 million in state income taxes, and $4.5 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
- Were unauthorized immigrants in Arkansas to have legal status, they would pay $88.9 million in state and local taxes, including $61.7 million in sales taxes, $22.3 million in state income taxes, and $4.9 million in property taxes.
Immigrants contribute to Arkansas’s economy as students.
- Arkansas’s 4,217 foreign students contributed $97.7 million to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses for the 2011-2012 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Naturalized citizens excel educationally.
- In Arkansas, 23.7% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 16.4% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 30.9% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 50.5% of noncitizens.
- The number of immigrants in Arkansas with a college degree increased by 88.2% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
- In Arkansas, 79.6% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009.
- The English proficiency rate among Asian children in Arkansas was 87.4%, while for Latino children it was 80.5%, as of 2009.
Published On: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 | Download File