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New Americans in Florida

Florida ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Sunshine State

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There are few states where the growing political and economic clout of immigrants, children of immigrants, and Latinos is as apparent as Florida. Immigrants (the foreign-born) account for nearly one in five Floridians, and roughly half of them are U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. Immigrants and their children were nearly one in five of the state’s registered voters as of 2012. Immigrants not only contribute 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 over $150 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of nearly $90 billion and employed more than 400,000 people at last count. As the economy continues to grow, Florida can ill-afford to alienate such a critical component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.

Immigrants and their children are a large and growing share of Florida’s electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Florida’s population rose from 12.9% in 1990, to 16.7% in 2000, to 19.4% in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Florida was home to 3.8 million immigrants in 2013, which is nearly the total population of Los Angeles, California.
  • 53.4% of immigrants (or 2 million people) in Florida were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2013 (up from 42.9% in 1990)—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 4.8% of the state’s population (or 925,000 people) in 2012, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 19.9% (or  1.8 million) of registered voters in Florida 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.

Nearly one quarter of Floridians are Latino—and they vote.

  • The Latino share of Florida’s population grew from 12.2% in 1990, to 16.8% in 2000, to 23.6% (or 4,619,316) in 2013. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.2% in 1990, to 1.7% in 2000, to 2.6% (or 509,588 people) in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 17.3% (or 1,399,000) of Florida voters in the 2012 elections, and Asians 1.9% (or 155,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of Latino and Asian voters far exceeded the margin of victory (74,309 votes) by which Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in Florida.
  • In Florida, 86.1% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 89.1% of children in Asian families in Florida were U.S. citizens, as were 89.8% of children in Latino families.

Immigrant workers and taxpayers are integral to Florida’s economy.

  • Immigrants comprised 24.5% of the state’s workforce in 2013 (or 2.3 million workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos in Florida paid $13.7 billion in federal taxes and $5.1 billion in state/local taxes in 2013, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy. In particular, foreign-born Latinos paid nearly $8 billion in federal taxes and over $3 billion in state/local taxes in 2013.
    • The federal tax contribution of Florida’s Latino population included $9.4 billion to Social Security and $2.2 billion to Medicare in 2013. Foreign-born Latinos contributed $5.5 billion to Social Security and $1.3 billion to Medicare in 2013.
  • Unauthorized immigrants in Florida paid $706 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $633.7 million in sales taxes and $72.6 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in Florida to have legal status, they would pay $747.4 million in state and local taxes, including $668.3 million in sales taxes and $79.1 million in property taxes.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 6.9% of the state’s workforce (or 650,000 workers) in 2012, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Florida, the state would lose $43.9 billion in economic activity, $19.5 billion in gross state product, and approximately 262,436 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Immigrant, Latino, and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers are integral to Florida’s economy.

  • The 2014 purchasing power of Latinos in Florida totaled nearly $127.2 billion—an increase of 544.2% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $23.1 billion—an increase of 882.5% 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 $11,720 in Miami-Dade County; $14,551 in Broward County; $10,703 in Palm Beach County; $7,651 in Hillsborough County; $9,830 in Orange County; $1,721 in Pinellas County; $3,625 in Duval County; $6,076 in Lee County; $3,423 in Polk County; $1,793 in Brevard County; $1,126 in Volusia County; $2,072 in Pasco County; $1,683 in Seminole County; $1,156 in Sarasota County; $1,398 in Marion County; $1,980 in Manatee County; and $3,341 in Collier County.
  • Florida’s 450,137 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $72.6 billion and employed 302,345 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 64,931 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $17.3 billion and employed 104,650 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
  • From 2006 to 2010, there were 286,144 new immigrant business owners in Florida, and new immigrant business owners had total net business income of $13.3 billion (23.8% of all net business income in the state), according to Robert Fairlie of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • In 2010, 26.1% of all business owners in Florida were foreign-born, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.
  • In 2010, the foreign-born share of business owners was 45% in Miami and 17% in Tampa, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.

Immigrants are integral to Florida’s economy as students.

  • Florida’s 36,249 foreign students contributed $1.1 billion 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 Florida’s metropolitan areas. From 2008 to 2012, according to the Brookings Institution, 18,617 foreign students paid $423 million in tuition and $258 million in living costs in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan statistical area. In the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area, 2,051 foreign students paid $52.2 million in tuition and $18.4 million in living costs. In the Gainesville metro area, 6,846 foreign students paid $180 million in tuition and $102 million in living costs. In the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area, 3,828 foreign students paid $72 million in tuition and $47 million in living costs. In the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro area, 2,452 foreign students paid $64 million in tuition and $26 million in living costs. In the Tallahassee metro area, 2,276 foreign students paid $42 million in tuition and $25 million in living costs. In the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area, 5,418 foreign students paid $75 million in tuition and $62 million in living costs.
  • Foreign students also contribute to innovation in Florida. In 2009, “non-resident aliens” comprised 38.6% of master’s degrees and 52.9% 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 Florida, 27.3% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 19.8% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 19.2% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 30.7% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in Florida with a college degree increased by 70.7% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In Florida, 86.8% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, according to the Urban Institute.
  • The English proficiency rate among Asian children in Florida was 90.8%, while for Latino children it was 85.7%, as of 2009.

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