Today Maine is home to roughly 49,000 immigrants. These new Americans play outsize roles as everything from food service managers to computer programmers. For many business owners, such immigrant workers have been a vital reason why their businesses have been able to thrive in recent years despite the rapidly aging native-born population.
In the United States, immigrants are more likely to be working-age than their U.S.-born counterparts. This allows them to contribute to the U.S. economy and to entitlement programs as they work and pay taxes. As Maine's slow population growth may potentially deprive businesses of customers and employers of a workforce they can depend on as more baby boomers retire, immigrants are likely to help to address some of these demographic challenges.
|Age Group||Foreign-Born Population Share||Native-Born Population Share|
In 2010, roughly one in 10 American workers with jobs at private firms were employed at immigrant-founded companies. Such businesses also generated more than $775 billion in annual business revenue that year. In Maine, like the country as a whole, immigrants are currently punching above their weight class as entrepreneurs. Foreign-born workers currently make up 5.0 percent of all entrepreneurs in the state, despite being just 3.7 percent of Maine’s population.
|People employed by immigrant-owned firms||14,659|
|Business income of immigrant-owned firms||$60.8M|
Nationally, immigrants earned $1.3 trillion in 2014 and contributed more than $104 billion in state and local taxes, as well as almost $224 billion in federal taxes. This left them with nearly $927 billion in spending power. Immigrants in Maine play an important role contributing to the state’s economy, both as consumers and taxpayers.
|Immigrant Household Income||$1.3B|
|— State & Local Taxes||$116.2M|
|— Federal Taxes||$245.5M|
|Total Spending Power||$953.9M|
Nationally, immigrants are 17.2 percent more likely to hold an advanced degree than the native-born. They are also more likely to have less than a high school education. Uniquely, this allows them to fill critical shortages at both ends of the skill spectrum, from high-tech fields to agriculture, hospitality, and service industries. This holds true in Maine, where immigrants play a particularly large role in computer systems design, home healthcare services, and travel accommodation.
|Workforce Education||Foreign-Born Population||Native-Born Population|
|Less Than High School||16.5%||7.5%|
|High School & Some College||43.8%||63.3%|
|Top Industries with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers|
|Computer systems design and related services||21.2%|
|Home healthcare services||13.8%|
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools, including junior colleges||9.3%|
|Groceries and related products||9.1%|
|Top Occupations with Highest Share of Foreign-Born Workers|
|Computer systems analysts||39.6%|
|Physicians and Surgeons||19.0%|
|Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic clerks||14.7%|
|Licensed, practical and Licensed vocational nurses||14.1%|
Between 2014 and 2024, science, technology, engineering, and math—or “STEM”—fields are projected to play a key role in U.S. economic growth, adding almost 800,000 new jobs and growing 37.0 percent faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. Immigrants are already playing a huge part ensuring that Maine remains a leading innovator in industries like consumer and corporate analytics.
|STEM workers who are immigrants||8.3%|
|STEM Master’s students who are foreign nationals||11.6%|
|STEM PhD students who are foreign nationals||25.0%|
In the coming years, the American healthcare industry is projected to see rapid growth—adding more new positions from 2014 to 2024 than any other industry in our economy. In Maine, a state where more than one out of every 5 people is currently elderly, finding enough healthcare workers remains a challenge—and one that will likely worsen in the future.
|Open healthcare jobs to unemployed healthcare workers||16:1|
|Doctors who were educated abroad||17.0%|
|Psychiatrists who were educated abroad||12.9%|
|Nurses who are foreign-born||4.7%|
|Health aides who are foreign-born||4.8%|
In 2014, the agriculture industry contributed $821 million to Maine’s GDP—a meaningful contribution. Within the agriculture industry, fresh fruits and vegetables played a prominent role. In 2014, more than 40 percent of crop farms in the state grew fresh produce. Maine also was one of the country’s leading producers of wild blueberries, producing almost $65 million worth of that crop in 2014.
|Share of fresh fruit and vegetable farms||40.9%|
|Share of paid and hired farmworkers who were migrant workers||62.0%|
Immigrant families have long played an important role helping to build housing wealth in the United States. In recent decades, the more than 40 million immigrants collectively in the country increased U.S. housing wealth by $3.7 trillion. Much of this was possible because immigrants moved into neighborhoods once in decline, helping to revitalize communities and make them more attractive to U.S.-born residents. In Maine, immigrants are actively strengthening the state’s housing market.
|Share of recent homebuyers who were foreign-born||4.0%|
|Housing wealth held by immigrant households||$3.2B|
|Amount paid by immigrant-led households in rent||$5.6M|
International students in the United States contributed more than $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2014-2015 school year and supported more than 370,000 jobs through their tuition payments and day-to-day spending. Research has found that increases in the number of international students at American universities boost innovation and patent creation. International students represent a small portion of all students in Maine, but they make a big impact.
|Students at Maine colleges and universities who are international||2.3%|
|Economic contribution of international students||$58.4M|
|Jobs supported by international students||570|
In 2014, Maine was home to almost 23,000 foreign-born residents who were eligible to vote, including an estimated 16,000 foreign-born residents who had formally registered. Those numbers are unlikely to sway a presidential election in this relatively safe Democratic state, where Barack Obama won by roughly 109,000 votes in 2012. Still, it can make a difference in closer statewide contests and primaries.
|Immigrants eligible to vote||22,995|
|Immigrants registered to vote||15,771|
|Immigrants eligible to vote in 2020||25,663|
|2012 presidential election margin of victory||109,030|
The United States is currently home to an estimated 11.4 million undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom have lived in the country for more than five years. The presence of so many undocumented immigrants for such a long time presents many legal and political challenges. But while politicians continue to debate what to do about illegal immigration without any resolution, millions of undocumented immigrants are actively working across the country, and collectively, these immigrants have a large impact on the U.S. economy. This is true in Maine, where undocumented immigrants play a small but significant role in the agriculture industry.
|Share of undocumented immigrants, working age||97.6%|
|Share these facts|
|Hey @SenAngusKing, you have 4,017 immigrant entrepreneurs creating jobs in your state. #ReasonForReform|
|Hey @SenAngusKing, did you know that 61.8% of immigrants in your state are of working age? #ReasonForReform|
|Hey @SenatorCollins, did you know there are 22,995 eligible immigrant voters in your state? #ReasonForReform|
|Hey @SenatorCollins, did you know immigrants in your state wield $953.9M in spending power? #ReasonForReform|
New American Economy brings together more than 500 mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. More…
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