Immigrants Drive the Texas Economy

New Study Shows Benefits of Immigrants to the Lone Star State

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Immigrants in Texas are a critical component of the state's economic vitality, according to a new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP). The report shows that Texas is home to one of the largest highly-skilled workforces in the country, and immigrant-owned small businesses contribute billions of dollars each year to the Texas economy. "The economic data show that immigrants in Texas are powering the state's economy," said Ann Beeson, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities. "Texas has always been home to people from many backgrounds, and it's critical that policymakers remember how tied immigrant success is to the state's success."

Key findings in the report include:

• One in six Texans is an immigrant, with over 4.2 million immigrants calling the state home. 

• Texas immigrants are a fifth of the state’s overall population of prime working age adults (16 -64).

• Small businesses owned by immigrants contributed $4.4 billion in earnings to the Texas economy in 2011.

• Texas is home to the 4th largest highly educated/skilled immigrant workforce in the country after California, New York, and Florida.

• In Texas, nearly two in five immigrants work in white-collar jobs, with an equal share (37 percent) working in blue-collar jobs.

• A quarter of all Texas immigrants live below the poverty line compared to 17.2 percent of U.S.-born Texans living in poverty.

Full Report>> 

Closing the Coverage Gap in Texas: Health Insurance for Working Individuals and Families [FAMILIES USA, July 2014]

Texas now has the option to accept federal Medicaid funding to extend affordable health insurance to more low-income adults. Closing the coverage gap would give more than 1.4 million uninsured Texans access to affordable health insurance.[1] For many of these residents, there is no affordable health coverage option as long as Texas rejects federal funds.[2]  Americans with incomes above the federal poverty level, which is $19,800 for a family of three, can now buy health insurance through the new health care marketplace, and, depending on their income, they may qualify for help with insurance costs. Individuals whose income is below the poverty level are not eligible for any help with insurance costs.[3] MORE>>

Read JSRI’s 2009 profile of poverty and inequality in the State of Texas »

A sample of the profile follows:

Who are Texas’s Poor?

  • 1,497,803 are children (22.5% of kids)
  • 287,987 are elders (12.2% of seniors)
  • 1,974,649 are adults 18-64 (13.4 % of adults)
  • 1,399,592 are in single parent families (33.7% of such families)

Looked at another way:

  • 1,667,469 males are poor (14.2 % males)
  • 2,092,962 females are poor (17.5 % of females)
  • 2,483,561 whites are poor (14.1 % of whites)
  • 605,883 blacks are poor (22.5 % of blacks)
  • 2,092,272 Hispanics are poor (24.0% of Hispanics)
  • 824,225 immigrants are poor (21.5 % of foreign-born)

Dr. Sue Weishar is the lead JSRI liaison to Texas groups, assisted by other staff as appropriate.

Particular articles of note are:

Related organizations

Banner photograph BY DAVID KOZLOWSKI