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New Americans in Delaware

Delaware ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the First State (Updated January 2014)

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Delaware. Immigrants (foreign-born) make up 8.4% 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 $3.2 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $1.6 billion and employed more than 7,500 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, 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 8.4% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Delaware was home to 76,362 immigrants in 2011.
  • 42.6% of immigrants (or 32,547 people) in Delaware were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 3.0% of the state’s population (or 25,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 5.8% (or 25,938) 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 2008 Census Bureau data by Rob Paral & Associates. 

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 8.4% (or 76,153 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.3% in 1990, to 2.1% in 2000, to 3.3% (or 29,930 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 1.7% (or 7,000) of Delaware voters in the 2008 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. 

Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Delaware’s economy. 

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Delaware totaled $1.6 billion—an increase of 755% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $1.6 billion—an increase of 834% 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.

Immigrants are essential to Delaware’s economy as workers. 

  • Immigrants comprised 10.9% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 50,653 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Unauthorized immigrants are important to Delaware’s economy as workers and consumers. 

  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 4.5% of the state’s workforce (or 20,000 workers) in 2010, 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 $12.1 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $6.3 million in sales taxes, $4.5 million in state income taxes, and $1.3 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in Delaware to have legal status, they would pay $17.4 million in state and local taxes, including $6.4 million in sales taxes, $9.6 million in state income taxes, and $1.4 million in property taxes. 

Immigrants are important to Delaware’s economy as students. 

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.

Published On: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 | Download File