Last month’s Presidential Election cast a spotlight on the rapid growth and, therefore, increasing impact of immigrants on elections in America. It was clear from the voter turnout in a growing number of states that immigrants are having a resounding impact on American elections, especially at the national level. Yet, this impact, at present and most likely for the near future, is not being felt in Missouri.
In Missouri, growth in immigrants has been dramatic but still lags far below national numbers. In 2009, the foreign-born population of Missouri was 212,900 or 3.6% of total population. Meanwhile, America’s foreign-born population is almost 14%. As a result, Missouri is ranked in the middle of states at 27th of 51, including the District of Columbia.
The state’s total foreign-born population is still relatively small. However, Missouri’s Asian and Hispanic populations have been growing rapidly. In the period of 2000 and 2010, Missouri’s foreign-born grew by nearly 41%.
Contrary to most other states, Missouri’s largest percentage of foreign-born hails from Asia. At 36% of total state immigrant population, it outstrips the national average of 28%. On the other hand, Missouri’s Latino foreign-born population of 20% continues to lag behind the national average of 53%.
Income for New Americans remains clustered at the top and bottom of the pay scale. In 2009, 33% of our state’s foreign-born workers earned $50,000 or more, and 34% earned less than $25,000 a year.
“The numbers paint a picture of recent rapid growth in immigrants in Missouri,” said Anna Crosslin, President and CEO of the International Institute. “However, the base from which the numbers are growing is so small that the net result not significant at present.”
“Lack of more immigrants may well put us at a competitive disadvantage in terms of political clout on the national scene as well as economic growth,” she added.
Next month, see Economic Impact of Immigrants in Missouri in our News Brief.
Unless otherwise stated, all data in this article derived from MPI Data Hub, Migration Policy Institute, www.migrationinformation.org, 2011, utilizing data from the 2010 US Census.