Report shows economic impact of immigrants in Illinois' 6th congressional district
NEW YORK — New American Economy, a New York-based group that advocates for immigration reform, released a report Tuesday detailing the impact immigrants have on the economy, job creation and filling the skills gap nationwide and within Illinois' District 6.
The data include details of how District 6 has benefited from the growing immigrant population. The report also details immigrants in the workforce, their voting power, tax contributions, spending and home ownership.
Illinois’ 6th Congressional District includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. The immigrant population in the area is 103,520, which is about 14.3 percent of the total population.
Many immigrants in the district are working age at over 72 percent, and there are at least 3,181 immigrant entrepreneurs in the area.
On a national scale, immigrants in the workforce are over 17 percent more likely than their native counterparts to hold a graduate degree. Additionally, they are also more likely to not have a bachelor’s degree. As a result, they can hold positions in the workforce from the lowest to the highest ends of the spectrum, which may otherwise go unfulfilled, hurting local business owners or causing them to relocate.
Locally, 16.8 percent of immigrants have below a high-school education compared to 3.1 percent of the native-born population. However, 25.1 percent of immigrants have a bachelor's degree compared to 31.9 percent of the native population, and 21.7 percent of immigrants have a graduate degree. That is compared to 19.4 percent of natives who have an advanced degree.
Immigrants could have an increasingly important role in determining outcomes of future elections, according to the report. In 2014, over 19 million immigrants were eligible to vote nationally. In the local district, there are 57,710 eligible immigrant voters, and 31,050 of them are registered to vote.
Home ownership is the foundation of the American dream, and many immigrant families have participated in helping build housing wealth in the U.S. Illinois’ 6th District includes 31,030 homes owned by immigrants; however, nationally this growing segment of the U.S. population collectively increased the housing wealth by $3.7 trillion.
As taxpayers and consumers, nationwide immigrants earned $1.3 trillion in 2014, paid $105 billion in local and state taxes and nearly $224 billion in federal taxes. Locally, their collective purchasing power is $3.4 billion, with a total household income of $4.7 billion. Immigrants in District 6 paid $1.2 billion in taxes, with $439.6 million in local and state contributions and $805.9 million in federal taxes.
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), who represents the 6th District, did not responded to requests for comment on the report as of publication. However, for those who support immigration reform, the New York-based group encourages members of the local community to tweet key facts and graphics directly to their policymakers.
The fact that Illinois’ District 6 is home to nearly 60,000 registered immigrant voters speaks volumes to their significant impact on the future of all local constituents. Therefore, immigration reform is essential not only for the local economy but the quality of life for all families in the district.