Statistics Show Immigrant’s Economic Impact in Georgia
Estimates show that nearly 1 million foreign-born residents currently reside in Georgia, with estimates that half of the immigrants are undocumented. Regardless of their migratory status, undocumented immigrants contribute $9.4 billion to Georgia’s approximate $320 billion robust economy. Moreover, they contribute between $215 million and $253 million to state coffers in the form of sales, income, and property taxes.
In terms of the state’s population, since the year 2000 the Peach State’s foreign-born population has increased by 58 percent making it the second-fastest growth in the nation. As far as workforce is concerned, they account for 6.3 percent of the labor force. In the state’s largest industry of agriculture, they constitute 40 to 50 percent of the workers. This fast growth can be attributed to the past two decades in which the economy has experienced a demand for service industry workers. This demand collided with the shrinking opportunities for farm workers abroad and in the vineyards of California. This along with the international focus the 1996 Olympics gave Georgia, accelerated its economic growth and created jobs ideal for immigrants. As a result the state experienced an expansion in terms of real estate development and crop productions. This created an unprecedented demand for labor that immigrants in border towns of Texas and Latin American countries were eager to supply.
Despite their economic contributions to the state a recent poll by the Georgia Newspaper Partnership revealed that most Georgia voters would support an Arizona-style law. Critics of undocumented immigrants in the state cite the burden of their healthcare costs and the stress on the school system. However, a recent study released by the Immigration Policy Center reveals that while they take jobs, their presence and spending spurs the economy and creates jobs. If the state were to remove all undocumented immigrants, the state would lose billions and cost the state 132,460 jobs in economic activity according to a study conducted by Americans for Immigration Reform.