Looking Forward: Immigrant Contributions to the Golden State

John Rodney & Jared Sanchez
Date of Publication: 
July, 2014
Source Organization: 


Immigrants make outsized contributions to California compared to their share of population, buttress the workforce and small business sector and have a potentially significant impact on the political future of the state. These are among the conclusions in Looking Forward: Immigrant Contributions to the Golden State, a study that also provides detailed examinations of seven regions of the state. Based on data analysis done by the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California, the study notes that while immigrants make up 27 percent of California's population (highest in the country), they constitute more than one-third of the workforce, are more likely than the native-born to be self-employed and contribute $650 billion annually (31 percent) to the state's GDP. In terms of civic participation, immigrants are becoming increasingly influential as they gain citizenship and, thus, become eligible to vote or run for office. The report estimates that by 2015, immigrants eligible to naturalize and the already naturalized will represent as much as 33 percent of California's electorate. While regional differences exist in terms of workforce participation (in the Inland Empire region, for example, immigrants make up 56 percent of the labor force), educational attainment (immigrants account for 47 percent of PhD holders in the Bay Area region) and naturalization (52 percent of the foreign-born in Sacramento are citizens), the report underscores the vital role immigrants play and their increasing influence on the direction of the state. (Denzil Mohammed for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

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Rodney, J. & Sanchez, J. (2014). Looking Forward: Immigrant Contributions to the Golden State. California Immigrant Policy Center. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/document/238492032/Looking-Forward-Immigrant-Contributions-to-the-Golden-State-2014