Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council,...
New Americans in Oregon
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Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Oregon. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up 1 in 10 Oregonians, and more than one-third of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for 5.8% 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 $14.5 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $4.9 billion and employed more than 40,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Oregon 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 Oregon’s population and electorate.
- The foreign-born share of Oregon’s population rose from 4.9% in 1990, to 8.5% in 2000, to 9.8% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Oregon was home to 377,613 immigrants in 2011, which is nearly the total population of Wichita, Kansas.
- 38% of immigrants (or 143,433 people) in Oregon were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 4.3% of the state’s population (or 160,000 people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- 5.8% (or 113,715) of registered voters in Oregon 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.
Nearly 1 in 6 Oregonians are Latino or Asian.
- The Latino share of Oregon’s population grew from 4.0% in 1990, to 8.0% in 2000, to 12% (or 466,071 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 2.3% in 1990, to 3.0% in 2000, to 3.9% (or 152,909 people) in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Latinos accounted for 2.1% (or 39,000) of Oregon voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.8% (33,000) according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- In Oregon, 87.1% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
- In 2009, 92.9% of children in Asian families in Oregon were U.S. citizens, as were 91.3% of children in Latino families.
Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to Oregon’s economy.
- The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Oregon totaled $8.4 billion—an increase of 821% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $6.1 billion—an increase of 574% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
- Oregon’s 11,338 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $1.7 billion and employed 13,916 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 12,647 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $3.2 billion and employed 26,779 people in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
Immigrants are essential to Oregon’s economy as workers.
- Immigrants comprised 12.4% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 241,614 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Unauthorized immigrants are integral to Oregon’s economy as workers and taxpayers.
- Immigrants accounted for 12% of total economic output in the Portland metropolitan area as of 2007, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 5.3% of the state’s workforce (or 110,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- Unauthorized immigrants in Oregon paid $93.9 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes $46.6 million in state income taxes, $23.2 million in property taxes, and $24.1 million in sales taxes.
- Were unauthorized immigrants in Oregon to have legal status, they would pay $154.9 million in state and local taxes, including $24.6 million in sales taxes, $106.1 million in state income taxes, and $24.3 million in property taxes.
- Oregon employers paid between $97 million and $136 million in taxes on behalf of unauthorized workers in 2005, including:
- $56 million to $79 million in Social Security taxes.
- $13 million to $18 million in Medicare taxes.
- $28 million to $39 million in state unemployment insurance taxes.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Oregon, the state would lose $3.4 billion in economic activity, $1.5 billion in gross state product, and approximately 19,259 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.
Immigrants are integral to Oregon’s economy as students.
- Oregon’s 9,896 foreign students contributed $304.9 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 citizens excel educationally.
- In Oregon, 34.9% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 18% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 17.2% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 44.5% of noncitizens.
- The number of immigrants in Oregon with a college degree increased by 61.4% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
- In Oregon, 79.8% 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 Oregon was 90.4%, while for Latino children it was 80.8%, as of 2009.
Published On: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 | Download File