The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the United States (Updated January 2012)
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Download the Previous Fact Sheet  (2008 Census Data)
1 in 8 people in the United States is an immigrant.
- The foreign-born share of the U.S. population rose from 7.9% in 1990 , to 11.1% in 2000 , to 12.5% in 2010 , according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The United States was home to nearly 40 million immigrants in 2010, which is more than the total population of California .
- Just under one-third (29.3%) of the foreign-born population came from Mexico as of 2010 , while more than one-quarter (25.9%) came from the countries of South and East Asia—followed by nations of the Caribbean (9.3%), Central America (7.6%), and South America (6.8%), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Approximately 37% of the foreign-born were naturalized U.S. citizens, 31% were Legal Permanent Residents, 28% were unauthorized, and 4% were legal temporary migrants in 2010 .
- There were 4.5 million native-born, U.S.-citizen children with at least one parent who was an unauthorized immigrant in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center .
- 22.7% of all children in the United States (16.8 million) had parents who were immigrants as of 2009, according to the Urban Institute . Of these children, 43.6% (7.3 million) had parents who were noncitizens.
Immigrants and their children are large and growing shares of the U.S. electorate
- In 2008, 10.2% (or 15 million) of all registered voters 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 IPC analysis  of Census Bureau data.
- 9.3 million registered voters were naturalized citizens, while 5.7 million were “post-1965” children of immigrants.
- Naturalized citizens comprised 6.4% of all voters, while “post-1965” children of immigrants were 3.9% of voters.
More than 1 in 7 workers in the U.S. is an immigrant.
- The nation’s 24.4 million foreign-born workers comprised 15.8% of the U.S. labor force in 2010 , according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Foreign-born workers accounted for 40% of workers in farming, fishing, and forestry; 36% in cleaning and maintenance; 26% in construction and extraction; 23% in food preparation and serving; and 20% in computer and mathematical occupations in 2010 .
Immigrant entrepreneurs add billions of dollars and millions of jobs to the U.S. economy.
- Immigrant-owned small businesses employed 4.7 million people and had $776 billion in receipts in 2007, according to an analysis  of Census data by the Fiscal Policy Institute.
- 18% of all small business owners in the United States are immigrants; higher than the immigrant share of the population (13%) or labor force (16%).
- Immigrants comprised the largest share of small business owners in California (33%), followed by New York (29%), New Jersey (28%), Florida (26%), and Hawaii (23%).
- Immigrants comprise 65% of taxi service owners, 54% of dry cleaning and laundry service owners, 53% of gas station owners, and 49% of grocery store owners.
- As of 2010, nearly one-fifth (18%) of all Fortune 500 companies had at least one founder who was an immigrant, according to a report  by the Partnership for a New American Economy.
- Collectively, these companies generated $1.7 trillion in annual revenue and employ 3.6 million workers worldwide.
- These companies include AT&T, Verizon, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Kraft, Comcast, Intel, Merck, DuPont, Google, Cigna, Kohl’s, Colgate-Palmolive, PG&E, Sara Lee, Sun Microsystems, United States Steel, Qualcomm, eBay, Nordstrom, and Yahoo!
Immigrants are integral to the U.S. economy as students.
- The 690,923 foreign students who were in the country during the 2009-2010 academic year contributed $18.8 billion to the economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators .
Immigrants increase the nation’s economic output.
- A 2007 report  from the White House Council of Economic Advisers concluded that immigration as a whole increases the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by roughly $37 billion each year because immigrants increase the size of the total labor force, complement the native-born workforce in terms of skills and education, and stimulate capital investment by adding workers to the labor pool.
Most native-born workers have experienced wage gains from immigration.
- Immigrants do not compete with the majority of natives for the same jobs because they tend to have different levels of education and to work in different occupations. As a result, immigrants usually “complement” the native-born workforce—which increases the productivity, and therefore the wages, of natives.
- A 2010 report  from the Economic Policy Institute estimated that, from 1994 to 2007, immigration increased the wages of native-born workers by 0.4%. The amount of the wage gain varied slightly by the education level of the worker. College graduates got a boost of 0.4%, workers with some college 0.7%, high-school graduates 0.3%, and workers without a high-school diploma 0.3%.
- A 2008 study  by economist Giovanni Peri estimated that, from 1990 to 2006, immigration increased the wages of native-born workers by 0.6%. College graduates experienced an increase of 0.5%, workers with some college 0.9%, high-school graduates 0.4%, and workers without a high-school diploma 0.3%.
Unauthorized immigrants also contribute to the U.S. economy.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised 5.2% of the U.S. workforce (or 8 million workers) in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center .
- Households headed by unauthorized immigrants paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2010, according to estimates  prepared for the IPC by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from the United States, the country would lose $551.6 billion in economic activity, $245 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and approximately 2.8 million jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a 2008 report by the Perryman Group .
- A 2010 report  from the IPC and Center for American Progress estimates that deporting all unauthorized immigrants from the country and somehow “sealing the border” to future unauthorized immigration would reduce U.S. GDP by 1.46% annually—or $2.6 trillion in lost GDP over 10 years. Moreover, the U.S. economy would shed large numbers of jobs.
1 in 5 people in the United States is Latino or Asian.
- The Latino share of the U.S. population grew from 9% in 1990 , to 12.5% in 2000 , to 16.4% (or 50.7 million people) in 2010 . The Asian share of the population grew from 2.8% in 1990 , to 3.6% in 2000 , to 4.8% (or 14.8 million) in 2010 , according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- More than one-third (37.1%) of Latinos  and two-thirds (65.9%) of Asians  were foreign-born in 2010 according the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Nearly one-quarter (22%, or 16.3 million) of all children in the United States in 2010 were Latino, according to the Urban Institute .
- More than half (57.9%) of Latino children in the United States had at least one foreign-born parent, according to the Urban Institute .
Latinos and Asians are large and growing shares of the U.S. electorate
- There were 6.6 million Latino voters in the 2010 mid-term elections (up from 5.6 million in the 2006 mid-terms), and 2.3 million Asian voters (up from 2.1 million in 2006), according to an analysis of Census data by the Pew Hispanic Center .
- In 2010, Latinos comprised 6.9% of all voters (up from 5.8% in 2006) and Asians were 2.4% (up from 2.2% in 2006).
The purchasing power of Latino and Asian consumers totaled $1.5 trillion in 2010.
- Together, Latinos and Asians accounted for nearly 14% of the nation’s total purchasing power, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth  at the University of Georgia.
- The purchasing power of Latinos totaled $1 trillion in 2010 (an increase of 392.9% since 1990), and is projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015.
- The purchasing power of Asians totaled $543.7 billion in 2010 (an increase of 371.3% since 1990), and is projected to reach $775.1 billion by 2015.
Latino and Asian businesses had sales of $857 billion and employed 4.7 million workers in 2007
- Together, businesses owned by Latinos and Asians comprised 14% of all U.S. businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners .
- The nation’s 2.3 million Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $350.7 billion and employed 1.9 million people in 2007 (the last year for which data is available).
- The nation’s 1.5 million Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $506 billion and employed 2.8 million people in 2007.
Published On: Tue, Jun 19, 2012