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New Americans in Michigan

Michigan ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Great Lakes State (Updated May 2013)

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Immigrants, Latinos, Asians, and Arab Americans account for large and growing shares of the economy and the electorate in Michigan. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 6.1% of the state’s population, and half of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account 6% of all 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 $20.2 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $11.6 billion and employed more than 84,000 people at last count. Michigan is also home to the largest proportion of Arab Americans in the country, who generate an estimated $544 million in state tax revenue each year. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Michigan 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 Michigan’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Michigan’s population rose from 3.8% in 1990, to 5.3% in 2000, to 6.1% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Michigan was home to 604,014 immigrants in 2011, which is more than the total population of Portland, Oregon.
  • 50.9% of immigrants (or 307,726 people) in Michigan were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 1.5% of the state’s population (or 150,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 6% (or 331,841) of all registered voters in Michigan 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.

7% of Michiganders are Latino or Asian—and they vote.

  • The Latino share of Michigan’s population grew from 2.2% in 1990, to 3.3% in 2000, to 4.5% (or 447,420 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.1% in 1990, to 1.8% in 2000, to 2.5% (or 242,232 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos comprised 1.4% (or 70,000) of Michigan voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.1% (or 53,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In Michigan, 86.4% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 86.4% of children in Asian families in Michigan were U.S. citizens, as were 94.3% of children in Latino families.

Michigan has the highest proportion of Arab Americans in the nation, and they contribute to the state’s economy.

  • The share of Michigan’s population reporting Arab ancestry rose from 0.8% in 1990, to 1.2% in 2000, to 1.7% (or 170,476 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Dearborn, Michigan, has the largest proportion of Arab Americans in the United States, representing 40.9% (39,762) of the city’s population in 2011. By way of comparison, Arab Americans represented 1.1% of the population in New York and 0.8% in Los Angeles as of 2011.
  • Arab American employment accounted for $7.7 billion in total earnings in the four counties of the Detroit metropolitan area in southeast Michigan, generating an estimated $544 million in state tax revenue in 2005, according to the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University.
  • Arab American business and consumer spending supported an estimated 141,541 jobs in the four-county region in 2005, according to the same study.

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

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Michigan’s Latinos totaled $9.2 billion—an increase of 327% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $11 billion—an increase of 494.4% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Michigan’s 21,589 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $7.7 billion and employed 66,293 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 10,770 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $3.9 billion and employed 18,508 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are essential to Michigan’s economy as workers.

  • Immigrants comprised 7.1% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 342,106 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Immigrants accounted for 11% of total economic output in the Detroit metropolitan area as of 2007, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 2% of the state’s workforce in 2010 (or 100,000 workers), according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Michigan, the state would lose $3.8 billion in economic activity, $1.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 20,339 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Michigan paid $141.7 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
    • $28.1 million in state income taxes.
    • $12.5 million in property taxes.
    • $101.1 million in sales taxes.

Immigrants are integral to Michigan’s economy as students.

  • Michigan’s 25,551 foreign students contributed $758.7 million to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses for the 2011-2012 academic year, according to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Immigrants excel educationally.

  • In Michigan, 38.1% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 34.8% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 19.7% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 29.1% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in Michigan with a college degree increased by 33.2% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • 36.6% of Michigan’s foreign-born population age 25 and older had a bachelor’s or higher degree in 2009, compared to 24.7% of native-born persons age 25 and older.
  • In Michigan, 86.6% 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 Michigan was 87.3%, while for Latino children it was 89.8%, as of 2009.

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