New research shows immigrants across Texas are driving population growth and helping metros meet their rising labor needs

Immigrants in Arlington, Fort Worth, Katy, Lubbock, Odessa, Waco, and Tarrant County collectively pay more than $1 billion in state and local taxes

AUSTIN, TX – New research released today by Texans for Economic Growth, a statewide 110-member business coalition powered by New American Economy (NAE), underscores the critical role immigrants across Texas play in population growth, business creation, and reviving the manufacturing sector. A series of seven reports found that in all regions of the state, immigrants and refugees punch above their weight, filling critical workforce gaps and contributing to their local economies. The new research finds that the combined foreign-born populations of Arlington, Fort Worth, Katy, Lubbock, Odessa, and Waco pay more than $1.4 billion in state and local taxes annually.

The new reports were released in partnership with the Texas Association of Business, Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, and Odessa Chamber of Commerce, members of the Global Talent Chamber Network which brings together chambers of commerce from across the country who see immigrant integration as an economic growth strategy. The reports were released at a virtual roundtable that brought together 40 chambers of commerce for a moderated discussion with Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.

“Our employers and workers are the heart behind Texas’ economic success, and this research proves we would not be the powerhouse that we are without the immigrants who contribute to our state and local communities,” said Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Business

“Immigration has been critical to Texas’ past economic success and will continue to be the cornerstone for our future,” said Chelsie Kramer, Texas State Organizer for New American Economy. “From driving population growth in Katy, Texas at a remarkable 38.4 percent, to accounting for 16.6 percent of Tarrant County’s GDP, it is clear immigrants are integral members of all Texas communities, big or small.” 

Key Findings: 

  • New Americans in Arlington:
    • Immigrants are driving population growth. Between 2014 and 2019, the population in the city increased by 6.5 percent, and the immigrant population increased by 11.2 percent. Growth in the foreign-born population accounted for 33.6 percent of the overall population growth during that period.
    • Immigrants are filling critical workforce gaps. Although foreign-born residents made up 20.5 percent of the city’s overall population, they represented 22.7 percent of its STEM workers in 2019.
    • Immigrants are helping the city meet its growing labor needs. Immigrants had an outsize impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of Arlington. Despite making up 20.5 percent of the overall population, immigrants accounted for 45.9 percent of construction workers, 32 percent of manufacturing workers, and 27.7 percent of hospitality workers. 
  • New Americans in Fort Worth:
    • Immigrants play an outsize role in entrepreneurship. Despite making up 15.8 percent of the overall population, immigrants made up 24.7 percent of the entrepreneurs in the city in 2019. 
    • Immigrants are responsible for a considerable contribution to the social safety net. In 2019, they contributed $374 million to Social Security and $94.1 million to Medicare. 
    • Immigrants are helping the city meet its growing labor needs. Immigrants had an outsize impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of Fort Worth. Despite making up 15.8 percent of the overall population, immigrants accounted for 46.7 percent of construction workers, 29.1 percent of manufacturing workers, and 22.9 percent of hospitality workers. 
  • New Americans in Katy:
    • Immigrants are driving population growth. Between 2014 and 2019, the population in the region increased by 16.5 percent, and the immigrant population increased by 24.6 percent. Growth in the foreign-born population accounted for 38.4 percent of the overall population growth during that period.
    • Immigrants are filling critical workforce gaps. Although foreign-born residents made up 27.6 percent of the region’s overall population, they represented 42.8 percent of its STEM workers in 2019.
    • Immigrants are helping the region meet its growing labor needs. Immigrants had an outsize impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of the Katy region. Despite making up 27.6 percent of the overall population, immigrants accounted for 44 percent of construction workers, 41.1 percent of mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction workers, and 40.5 percent of manufacturing workers. 
  • New Americans in Odessa:
    • Immigrants play an outsize role in entrepreneurship. Despite making up 13.5 percent of the overall population, immigrants made up 28.2 percent of the entrepreneurs in the metro area in 2019. 
    • Immigrants are responsible for a considerable contribution to the social safety net. In 2019, they contributed $72.3 million to Social Security and $19.6 million to Medicare.
    • Immigrants are helping the metro area meet its growing labor needs. Immigrants had an outsize impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of Odessa. Despite making up 13.5 percent of the overall population, immigrants accounted for 30.7 percent of construction workers, 21.5 percent of healthcare and social assistance workers, and 20.2 percent of hospitality workers. 
  • New Americans in Tarrant County:
    • Immigrants are driving population growth. Between 2014 and 2019, the population in the county increased by 8.8 percent, and the immigrant population increased by 13.1 percent. Growth in the foreign-born population accounted for 23.1 percent of the overall population growth during that period.
    • Immigrants play an outsize role in entrepreneurship. Despite making up 16.1 percent of the overall population, immigrants made up 25 percent of the entrepreneurs in the county in 2019. 
    • Immigrants are helping the county meet its growing labor needs. Immigrants had an outsize impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of Tarrant County. Despite making up 16.1 percent of the overall population, immigrants accounted for 24.3 percent of construction workers, 19.8 percent of general services workers, and 18.4 percent of STEM workers. 
  • New Americans in Lubbock:
    • Immigrants are driving population growth. Between 2014 and 2019, the population in the metro area increased by 5.8 percent, and the immigrant population increased by 13.8 percent. Growth in the foreign-born population accounted for 14.2 percent of the overall population growth during that period.
    • Immigrants play an outsize role in entrepreneurship. Despite making up 6.4 percent of the overall population, immigrants made up 7.7 percent of the entrepreneurs in the metro area in 2019. 
    • Immigrants are helping the metro area meet its growing labor needs. Immigrants had an outsize impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of the Lubbock Metro Area. Despite making up 6.4 percent of the overall population, immigrants accounted for 26.7 percent of general services workers, 16.3 percent of construction workers, and 11.6 percent of education workers. 
  • New Americans in Waco:
    • Immigrants are driving population growth. Between 2014 and 2019, the population in the metro area increased by 4.6 percent, and the immigrant population increased by 7.9 percent. Growth in the foreign-born population accounted for 14.5 percent of the overall population growth during that period.
    • Immigrants play an outsize role in entrepreneurship. Despite making up 8.7 percent of the overall population, immigrants made up 14.4 percent of the entrepreneurs in the metro area in 2019. 
    • Immigrants are helping the metro area meet its growing labor needs. Immigrants had an outsize impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of the Waco Metro Area. Despite making up 8.7 percent of the overall population, immigrants accounted for 37 percent of construction workers, 17.4 percent of manufacturing workers, and 14.9 percent of hospitality workers.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…