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Report: Immigrants living in Arizona contribute $21.4 billion to state's economy

A New York group urging immigration reform has calculated that about 900,000  immigrants living in Arizona contribute at least  $21.4 billion to the state’s economy through purchases as well as taxes.

The Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan group headed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, calculated immigrant economic contributions in all 435 congressional districts, including nine in Arizona, and 50 metro areas as part of an effort to urge Republicans to reform national immigration policies.

They want borders to be more secure through tougher enforcement and better use of technology as well as a secure system for employers to verify employment eligibility, increased opportunities for foreign workers and students to come to the United States, and establishment of a path for undocumented residents now living in the U.S. to become legal. 

The “Map the Impact” report released in late February includes estimated contributions from undocumented residents for 43 states, including Arizona, that had large enough populations to count. It uses 2014 data.

Politico reported last month that the group planned more than 100 events nationwide to publicize the report.

Key findings:


  • There were 921,000 foreign-born residents who make up 14 percent of the state’s population.
  • More than 60,000 immigrated to Arizona between 2010 and 2014.
  • More than 60,000 were self-employed and generated $1.3 billion in income.
  • Foreign-born workers made up 22 percent of all business entrepreneurs
  • Immigrants contributed more than $2.6 billion to Medicare and Social Security.
  • They performed 62 percent of crop production work and held 49 percent of landscaping jobs. And they paid more than $ 5 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

Metro Tucson

  • There were 134,983 immigrants and they comprised 13.4 percent of the population.
  • They paid $732.8 million in 2014 taxes.
  • But they were generally less educated than native-born residents. Thirty six percent of immigrants had less than a high school education, while only 7.2 percent of non-immigrants did. And while 18.7 percent of non-immigrants have bachelor’s degrees, only 12.7 percent of immigrants did.
  • There were 60,673 immigrants eligible to vote in 2014, and homes were owned by 33,472.
  • Their total spending power reached $2.2 billion. They paid $732.8 million in taxes, including $248.4 million in state and local taxes. Their total spending power was $2.2 billion.
  • There were 10,306 entrepreneurs. Immigrants nationally are 28 percent more likely to run their own businesses.
  • The top five industries ranked by share of immigrant workers are: general services, 26.3 percent (are immigrants); construction, 26 percent; manufacturing, 21 percent; health care and social assistance, 18 percent and real estate, 17 percent.

Phoenix metro

  • The 649,059 immigrants comprising 14.5 percent of the population.
  • They paid almost $4 billion in taxes. And their spending power was $11.8 billion.
  • Their education levels are slightly less than those in Tucson. Thirty seven percent had less than a high school education and 12 percent had a bachelor’s degree.
  • They also worked in more varied jobs.  The top five industries Phoenix area immigrants share are: administrative support, 31 percent; construction, 31 percent;  general services, 27 percent; manufacturing, 22 percent and tourism, hospitality and recreation, 21 percent.
  • And 44,216 of the immigrants are entrepreneurs.
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