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New Americans In The Lone Star State

by Mary Giovagnoli et. al of the Immigration Policy Center

The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in Texas

Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Texas’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Texas’s population rose from 9.0% in 1990, to 13.9% in 2000, to 16.0% in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Texas was home to 3,828,904 immigrants in 2007, which is roughly the total population of Los Angeles, California.
  • 30.9% of immigrants (or 1,185,001 people) in Texas were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2007—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • 9.3% (or 899,841) of registered voters in Texas 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 2006 Census Bureau data by Rob Paral & Associates.

 1 in 3 Texans are Latino or Asian.

  • The Latino share of Texas’s population grew from 25.5% in 1990,to 32.0% in 2000, to 36.0% (or 8,605,577 people) in 2007.  The Asian share of the population grew from 1.8%  in 1990, to 2.7% in 2000, to 3.4% (or 812,749 people) in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Latinos accounted for 20.1% (or 1,697,000) of Texas voters in the 2008 elections, and Asians 1.4% (118,000), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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

  • The 2009 purchasing power of Latinos in Texas totaled $175.3 billion—an increase of 429.3% since 1990.  Asian buying power totaled $33.5 billion—an increase of 626.8% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • Texas’s 319,340 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $42.2 billion and employed 280,156 people in 2002, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 77,834 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $20.7 billion and employed 176,571 people in 2002, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.

Immigrants are integral to Texas’s economy as workers and taxpayers.

  • Immigrants comprised 20.3% of the state’s workforce in 2007 (or 2,377,625 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Unauthorized immigrants paid nearly $1.6 billion in taxes and fees in 2005, according a report by the Texas State Comptroller.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 7.9% of the state’s workforce (or 925,000 workers) in 2008, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Texas, the state could lose $69.3 billion in expenditures, $30.8 billion in economic output, and approximately 403,174 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

Immigrants are integral to Texas’s economy as students.

Naturalized Citizens Excel Educationally.

  • In Texas, 26.8% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2007 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 14.7% of noncitizens.  At the same time, only 31.9% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 55.0% of noncitizens.
  •  The number of immigrants in Texas with a college degree increased by 58.5% between 2000 and 2007, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  •  In Texas, 70.9% of all children between the ages of 5 and 17 in families that spoke a language other than English at home also spoke English “very well” as of 2007.

About The Author

Mary Giovagnoli is the Director of the Immigration Policy Center. Prior to IPC, Mary served as Senior Director of Policy for the National Immigration Forum and practiced law as an attorney with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security—serving first as a trial attorney and associate general counsel with the INS, and, following the creation of DHS, as an associate chief counsel for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Mary specialized in asylum and refugee law, focusing on the impact of general immigration laws on asylees. In 2005, Mary became the senior advisor to the Director of Congressional Relations at USCIS. She was also awarded a Congressional Fellowship from USCIS to serve for a year in Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s office where she worked on comprehensive immigration reform and refugee issues. Mary attended Drake University, graduating summa cum laude with a major in speech communication. She received a master’s degree in rhetoric and completed additional graduate coursework in rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin, before receiving a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She spent more than ten years teaching public speaking, argumentation and debate, and parliamentary procedure while pursuing her education.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.