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BUSINESS IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW OFFICE                                  

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Impact of immigrants on California’s economy and demographic situation


The Immigration Policy Center released updated state-by-state fact sheets with impact of immigrants on California’s economy and demographic situation. Here is the interesting summary for California:

27% of Californians are immigrants.

51.3% of Californians are Latinos or Asian.

46.8% of immigrants (or 4.8 million people) in California became naturalized U.S. citizens.

Unauthorized immigrants comprise roughly 6.8% of the state’s population (or 2.5 million people).

Immigrants comprised 34.3% of the state’s workforce in 2011 (or 6.5 million workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Immigrants in California pay roughly $30 billion in federal taxes, $5.2 billion in state income taxes, and $4.6 billion in sales taxes each year. In California, “the average immigrant-headed household contributes a net $2,679 annually to Social Security, which is $539 more than the average US-born household.”

Immigrants accounted for 34% of total economic output in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, 29% in the San Francisco metropolitan area, 25% in the Riverside metropolitan area, and 23% in the San Diego metropolitan area in 2007, according to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute.

If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from California, the state would lose $301.6 billion in economic activity, decrease total employment by 17.4%, and eliminate 3.6 million jobs, according to a study by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda and Marshall Fitz. If unauthorized immigrants in California were legalized, it would add 633,000 jobs to the economy, increase labor income by $26.9 billion, and increase tax revenues by $5.3 billion.

The 2012 purchasing power of California’s Latinos totaled $310.5 billion—an increase of 353% since 1990. Asian buying power totaled $236.7 billion—an increase of 448% since 1990, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.

California’s 566,573 Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $80.3 billion and employed 458,922 people in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The state’s 508,969 Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $181.3 billion and employed 905,957 people. Together, businesses owned by Latinos and Asians comprised more than one-quarter of all businesses in the state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.

  • Unauthorized immigrants in California paid $2.7 billion in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, which includes:
    • $176.9 million in state income taxes.
    • $735.8 million in property taxes.
    • $1.8 billion in sales taxes.

Immigrants are integral to California’s economy as students.

Naturalized citizens excel educationally.

  • In California, 33.2% of foreign-born persons who were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2011 had a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared to 17.4% of noncitizens. At the same time, only 24.9% of naturalized citizens lacked a high-school diploma, compared to 48.9% of noncitizens.
  • The number of immigrants in California with a college degree increased by 51% between 2000 and 2011, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.
  • In California, 81% 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 California was 86.4%, while for Latino children it was 83%, as of 2009.

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