Immigration an Integral Part of Texas Economy

As the state in the nation with the second-highest immigrant population as well as its status as one of only five states in the country where ethnic minorities make up the majority of residents, Texas offers multiple levels of insight regarding immigrants’ economic impact. Reflected in the numbers is the gamut of economic activity represented in the Texas Gross State Product (GSP.) The economic range goes from agriculture to small business and also reaches into the realm of research and development where university and corporate sponsorship is so critical.

Here’s a roundup of some of the raw data points as reported by the Partnership for a New American Economy’s Map the Impact project:

  • From 2000 through 2011, immigration to the Lone Star state grew by 45 percent. With heavy representation from Mexico, El Salvador and India, foreign-born residents in the state now represent 16.5 percent of the population.
  • Texas immigrants fuel the state’s economy as non-citizens represent nearly one-quarter of business owners, making it the state with the fifth-highest rate of immigrant ownership. The estimated annual impact of these immigrant-owned businesses is $10 billion.
  • Texas employers were granted certifications to bring around 12,400 foreigners in to work in the United States in fiscal year 2011. Seasonal and temporary workers, using H-2B visas, staffed amusement parks, hotels, landscaping service companies and other businesses during peak seasons.
  • In the highly desirable area of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the study reports 58 percent of those enrolled in the state’s research-intensive graduate programs were immigrants. Directly correlated to STEM is patent revenue, which generated $38.3 million for the University of Texas System in fiscal year 2010. In 2011, almost three of every four patents awarded to the University of Texas System included at least one foreign-born inventor. The Map the Impact study claims expanding the high-skilled visa program would add a total of more than $3.2 billion to the Texas GSP in 2014.
  • Texas’ addition of 50,000 newly-created jobs in July 2014 correlates to its position as the state with the second-highest immigrant population in the country, behind California. The Lone Star state’s immigrant population grew by 45 percent in the period from 2000 through 2011. With most immigrants coming from Mexico, El Salvador and India, foreign-born residents now represent 16.5 percent of the population as a whole. By 2010, according to reported numbers by the Partnership for a New American Economy, Texas became one of only five states in the country where ethnic minorities represented a majority of the population.

A Washington Post blog reports Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute quoted as saying, “Immigrants are drawn to states with thriving economies.”