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New Americans in North Carolina

North Carolina ThumbThe Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Tar Heel State (Updated April 2013)

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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and population in the electoral swing state of North Carolina. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 7.3% of the state’s population, while more than 1 in 10 North Carolinians are Latino or Asian. Moreover, Latinos and Asians wield $22.9 billion in consumer purchasing power. At last count, businesses owned by Latinos and Asians had sales and receipts of $10.1 billion and employed more than 63,000 people. At a time when the economy is still recovering, North Carolina 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 North Carolina’s population.

  • The foreign-born share of North Carolina’s population rose from 1.7% in 1990, to 5.3% in 2000, to 7.3% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. North Carolina was home to 708,350 immigrants in 2011, which is more than the total population of Detroit, Michigan.
  • 33.1% of immigrants (or 234,546 people) in North Carolina were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 3.5% of the state’s population (or 325,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 3.6% (or 176,461) of registered voters in North Carolina 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.

More than 1 in 10 North Carolinians are Latino or Asian. 

  • The Latino share of North Carolina’s population grew from 1.2% in 1990, to 4.7% in 2000, to 8.6% (or 828,104 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 0.8% in 1990, to 1.4% in 2000, to 2.2% (or 211,328 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos comprised 1.8% (or 77,000) of North Carolina voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians about 1% (or 43,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.[xv]  Although the numbers of Latino and Asian voters were relatively small, they far exceeded the very narrow margin of victory (14,177 votes) by which Barack Obama defeated John McCain.
  • In North Carolina, 85.1% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
  • In 2009, 86% of children in Asian families in North Carolina were U.S. citizens, as were 85.9% of children in Latino families.

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

  • The 2012 purchasing power of North Carolina’s Latinos totaled $14.0 billion—an increase of 1,571% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $8.9 billion—an increase of 1,169% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • North Carolina’s 20,157 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $5.9 billion and employed 44,288 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available.  The state’s 21,301 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $4.2 billion and employed 18,997 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are essential to North Carolina’s economy as workers and consumers.

  • Immigrants comprised 9.8% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 474,244 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 5.4% of the state’s workforce in 2010 (or 250,000 workers), according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from North Carolina, the state would lose $14.5 billion in economic activity, $6.4 billion in gross state product, and approximately 101,414 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in North Carolina paid $317.7 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
    • $82.3 million in state income taxes.
    • $25.9 million in property taxes.
    • $209.5 million in sales taxes.

Immigrants are integral to North Carolina’s economy as students.

  • North Carolina’s 13,770 foreign students contributed $338.8 million to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses for the 2011-2012 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Naturalized immigrants excel educationally.

  • The number of immigrants in North Carolina with a college degree increased by 99.1% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • 38.6% of North Carolina’s foreign-born population age 25 and over who were naturalized U.S. citizens had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2011, compared to 18.7% of noncitizens and 27% of native-born citizens.
  • In North Carolina, 78.9% 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 North Carolina was 88.4%, while for Latino children it was 75.4%, as of 2009.

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