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New Americans in Kansas

Kansas ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Sunflower State (Updated May 2014)

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Kansas. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 6.9% of the state’s population, and one-third of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 3.7% 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 $9.8 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of more than $2.7 billion and employed more than 20,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Kansas 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 Kansas’s population and electorate. 

  • The foreign-born share of Kansas’s population rose from 2.5% in 1990, to 5.0% in 2000, to 6.9% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Kansas was home to 198,767 immigrants in 2011, which is roughly the total population of Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 33.9% of immigrants (or 67,411 people) in Kansas were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 2.4% of the state’s population (or 65,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 3.7% (or 49,673) of registered voters in Kansas 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.

1 in 8 Kansans are Latino or Asian. 

  • The Latino share of Kansas’s population grew from 3.8% in 1990, to 7.0% in 2000, to 10.7% (or 306,806 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.2% in 1990, to 1.7% in 2000, to 2.3% (or 67,235 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 3.2% (or 39,000) of Kansas voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.5% (19,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In Kansas, 87.9% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 91.9% of children in Asian families in Kansas were U.S. citizens, as were 92% of children in Latino families.

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

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos totaled $6.7 billion—an increase of 663% since 1990. Asian buying power in Kansas totaled $3.1 billion—an increase of 679% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia. 
  • Kansas’s 4,833 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $1.4 billion and employed 12,676 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 5,763 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $1.3 billion and employed 7,935 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners. 

Immigrants are integral to Kansas’s economy as workers and taxpayers. 

  • Immigrants comprised 8.6% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 130,162 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 3.3% of the state’s workforce (or 45,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Kansas, the state would lose $1.8 billion in economic activity, $807.2 million in gross state product, and approximately 11,879 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group. 

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes. 

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Kansas paid $58.9 million in state and local taxes in 2010, including $46.6 million in sales taxes, $7.9 million in state income taxes, and $4.4 million in property taxes, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in Kansas to have legal status, they would pay $69.2 million in state and local taxes, including $49.3 million in sales taxes, $15.1 million in state income taxes, and $4.8 million in property taxes.

Immigrants are important to Kansas’s economy as students. 

Naturalized citizens excel educationally.

  • In Kansas, 30.5% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 23.9% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 26.2% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 43.5% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in Kansas with a college degree increased by 101% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In Kansas, 83.4% 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 Kansas was 91.7%, while for Latino children it was 86.6%, as of 2009.

Published On: Tue, Jan 01, 2013 | Download File