The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Lone Star State (Updated May 2013)
Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for growing shares of the economy and electorate in Texas. Immigrants (the foreign-born) make up roughly 1 in 6 Texans, and one-third of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for more than 1 in 10 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 $265 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they own had sales and receipts of $102.1 billion and employed more than 600,000 people at last count. At a time when the economy is still recovering, Texas 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 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 16.4% in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Texas was home to 4,201,675 immigrants in 2011, which is more than the total population of Los Angeles, California.
- 33.2% of immigrants (or 1,393,937 people) in Texas were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011[vi]—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 6.7% of the state’s population (or 1.7 million people) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- 11.8% (or 1,194,544) 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 2008 Census Bureau data by Rob Paral & Associates.
More than 1 in 4 Texans are Latino or Asian—and they vote.
- The Latino share of Texas’s population grew from 25.5% in 1990, to 32.0% in 2000, to 38.1% (or 9,791,628 people) in 2011. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.8% in 1990, to 2.7% in 2000, to 3.9% (or 999,118 people) in 2011, 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.
- In Texas, 87.7% of children with immigrant parents were U.S. citizens in 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.
- In 2009, 86.2% of children in Asian families in Texas were U.S. citizens, as were 93.2% of children in Latino families.
Latino and Asian entrepreneurs and consumers add tens of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs to Texas’s economy.
- The 2012 purchasing power of Latinos in Texas totaled $216.2 billion—an increase of 560% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $48.8 billion—an increase of 969% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
- Texas’s 447,589 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $61.9 billion and employed 395,673 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 114,297 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $40.2 billion and employed 206,545 people in 2007, 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 21% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 2,645,538 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Immigrants accounted for 21% of total economic output in the Houston metropolitan area and 16% of economic output in the Dallas metropolitan area as of 2007, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute.
- Unauthorized immigrants in Texas paid $1.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
- $177.8 million in property taxes.
- $1.4 billion in sales taxes.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised 9% of the state’s workforce (or 1,100,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Texas, the state would lose $69.3 billion in economic activity, $30.8 billion in gross state product, 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.
- Texas’s 61,511 foreign students contributed $1.4 billion 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 Texas, 28.9% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 15.2% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 29.3% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 53.7% of noncitizens.
- The number of immigrants in Texas with a college degree increased by 91.5% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
- In Texas, 75.2% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, to data from the Urban Institute.
- The English proficiency rate among Asian children in Texas was 85.7%, while for Latino children it was 80.7%, as of 2009.
Published On: Fri, Jan 11, 2013