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New Americans in Montana

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

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for a significant share of the population and economy in Montana. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 2% of the state’s population, 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 2.7% of registered voters in the state. Immigrants are not only important to the state’s economy as workers, but also account for tens of million of dollars in tax revenue and consumer purchasing power. Moreover, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $749 million in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of more than $300 million and employed more than 4,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Montana can ill-afford to alienate a significant component of its labor force, tax base, and business community.

Immigrants and their children are significant shares of Montana’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Montana’s population was 2.0% in 2011 (20,060 people), according to the U.S. Census Bureau
  • 48.2% of immigrants (or 9,662 people) in Montana were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised less than 0.5% of the state’s population (or fewer than 10,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 2.7% (or 13,937) of registered voters in Montana 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.

3.5% of Montanans are Latino or Asian.

  • The Latino share of Montana’s population grew from 1.5% in 1990, to 2.0% in 2000, to 2.9% (or 29,331 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population was 0.6% (or 5,714 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 1.7% (or 8,000) of Montana voters in the 2008 elections, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In Montana, 97.6% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 99.5% of children in Latino families in Montana were U.S. citizens.

Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Montana’s economy.

  • The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Montana totaled $603 million—an increase of 609% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $146 million—an increase of 265% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Montana’s 646 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $142.8 million and employed 1,735 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 1,131 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $161 million and employed 2,436 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are important to Montana’s economy as workers.

  • Immigrants comprised 2.0% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 10,281 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Montana, the state would lose $96.3 million in economic activity, $42.8 million in gross state product, and approximately 720 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in Montana paid $1.8 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes $605,000 in state income taxes, $219,000 in property taxes, and $973,000 in sales taxes.
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in Montana to have legal status, they would pay $2.7 million in state and local taxes, including $982,000 in sales taxes, $1.5 million in state income taxes, and $250,000 in property taxes.

Immigrants are important to Montana’s economy as students.

Immigrants excel educationally.

  • The number of immigrants in Montana with a college degree increased by 70.9 percent between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In Montana, 91.3% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • The English proficiency rate among Latino children in Montana was 99.3% as of 2009.

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