Skip to Content

Programs:

New Americans in Illinois

Illinois ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Prairie State (Updated May 2013)

Download the 2013 Infographic (2010 Version)

Download the Fact Sheet (Updated 2014)

Download the Previous Fact Sheet (From 2010)

View the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fact Sheet for Illinois

Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Illinois. Nearly 1 in 7 Illinoisans 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 10% 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 $74.8 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $28.8 billion and employed more than 180,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Illinois can ill-afford to alienate such a critical component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.

1 in 7 registered voters in Illinois are immigrants or the children of immigrants. 

  • The foreign-born share of Illinois’ population rose from 8.3% in 1990, to 12.3% in 2000, to 14% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Illinois was home to 1,798,815 immigrants in 2011, which is more than the total population of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 46.5% of immigrants in Illinois (or 837,193 people) were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 4.1% of the state’s population (or 525,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 10% (or 615,144) of all registered voters in Illinois are “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.

1 in 5 Illinoisans are Latino or Asian—and they vote.

  • The Latino share of Illinois’ population grew from 7.9% in 1990, to 12.3% in 2000, to 16.1% (or 2,077,030 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 2.5% in 1990, to 3.4% in 2000, to 4.7% (or 599,115 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 5.8% (or 314,000) of Illinois voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.4% (78,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In Illinois, 89.8% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 89.2% of children in Asian families in Illinois were U.S. citizens, as were 92.8% of children in Latino families. 

Immigrants are essential to the Illinois economy as workers.

  • Immigrants comprised 17.6% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 1,177,941 people), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Immigrants accounted for 18% of total economic output in the Chicago metropolitan area as of 2007, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Immigrants are a large part of Illinois’ advancing job sectors, representing 27.7% of all net job creation in the “health diagnosing” sector from 2000 to 2005.
  • In just the Chicago metro area, the consumer expenditures of unauthorized immigrants alone generated more than 31,000 jobs in the local economy and added $5.5 billion annually to the gross regional product, according to a 2002 survey by the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 5.6% of the state’s workforce (or 375,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Illinois, the state would lose $25.6 billion in economic activity, $11.4 billion in gross state product, and approximately 119,214 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

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

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Illinois’s Latinos totaled $46.1 billion—an increase of 422.4% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $28.7 billion—an increase of 463% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Illinois’s 56,567 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $10.3 billion and employed 77,449 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 59,367 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $18.5 billion and employed 102,991 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes. 

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Illinois paid $562.1 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $392.1 million in sales taxes, $112.8 million in state income taxes, and $57.2 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in Illinois to have legal status, they would pay $711.7 million in state and local taxes, including $412.6 million in sales taxes, $238.3 million in state income taxes, and $60.8 million in property taxes. 

Immigrants are integral to Illinois’s economy as students.

Naturalized citizens excel educationally. 

  • In Illinois, 34.6% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor's or higher degree, compared to 22.5% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 21.1% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 38.6% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in Illinois with a college degree increased by 46.7% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • 38% of all college graduates entering the Illinois labor force are foreign-born, according to a 2006 study by Rob Paral and Associates.
  • In Illinois, 80.4% 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 Illinois was 87.9%, while for Latino children it was 80.6%, as of 2009.

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