LatinaLista — One of the most creative movies about Latinos to ever come out of Hollywood was the 2004 film “A Day Without a Mexican.”
The premise of the story was all the Mexicans in the state of California disappear, and no one knows why. While the focus in the film was the labor Latinos do and how that impacts everyone’s lives, there is also another factor that is only now gaining the recognition it deserves — real financial contributions of Latino consumers.
In light of the mean-spirited and vicious state laws being passed trying to drive out undocumented immigrants from the country, like the one this week in Arizona, other states have realized that Latino consumers buoy their state’s coffers.
in Idaho, Hispanic buying power grew 10 times faster than the buying power of the state’s non-Hispanic residents, according to estimates from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
The University of Georgia’s Selig Center reported:
In 2009, Hispanics account for 9.1 percent of all U.S. buying power, up from only 6.8 percent in 2000 and from 5 percent in 1990. Due to this brisk growth, Hispanic buying power essentially pulled even with African-American buying power in 2005, and surpassed it in 2006. The estimates show that gap between the two groups’ total buying power expanded in 2009 and will widen further in future years.
And a Nielsen multicultural study of buying trends had among its findings:
When compared to the general population, on average Hispanic Shoppers:
Tend to spend more on categories for babies and children. Hispanic households represent 11.8% of CPG total spending, but 16.6% of disposable diaper sales.
Tend to spend more in traditional mass merchandise and warehouse clubs.
Tend to spend more on food consumed at home.
The Hispanic TV audience in the US is growing faster than the TV audience for the total population, showing a continued increase of Hispanic TV homes (2.3%) compared with total US TV homes (0.3%) for the 2009-2010 TV season.
The number of people ages 2 and older in Hispanic TV homes will also grow, with estimates showing a 2.4% increase to a total of 44.3 million.
Yet, this isn’t even the whole story.
When undocumented immigrants are allowed to join mainstream society as full partners in this economy, there will be additional benefits:
A January 2010 study by Dr. RaÃºl Hinojosa-Ojeda, conducted for the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, estimates that during the first three years after legalization, the higher earning power of newly legalized workers “would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue.”
A state-by-state study titled Assessing the Economic Impact of Immigration at the State and Local Level by the Immigration Policy Center found states didn’t lose financially with immigrant populations within their borders, unlike what the critics of undocumented immigrants want people to believe, but actually gained monetarily from their presence.
ARIZONA: A 2007 study by the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy concluded that “the total state tax revenue attributable to immigrant workers was an estimated $2.4 billion (about $860 million for naturalized citizens plus about $1.5 billion for non-citizens). Balanced against estimated fiscal costs of $1.4 billion (for education, health care, and law enforcement), the net 2004 fiscal impact of immigrants in Arizona was positive by about $940 million.”
ARKANSAS: A 2007 study by the Urban Institute found that “Arkansas immigrants had an estimated total after-tax income of $2.7 billion in 2004. Approximately 20 percent of this was sent home to families abroad, saved, or used for interest payments. The remaining spending had a total impact on the state of $2.9 billion…” In addition, “without immigrant labor, the output of the state’s manufacturing industry would likely be lowered by about $1.4 billion–or about 8 percent of the industry’s $16.2 billion total contribution to the gross state product in 2004.”
COLORADO: Unauthorized immigrants in Colorado paid between $159 million and $194 million in state and local taxes in 2005, according to a 2006 study by the Bell Policy Center, which includes $24 million to $30 million in state income taxes, $10 million to $13 million in property taxes and $125 million to $151 million in sales taxes. In addition, Colorado employers paid between $12 million and $15 million in unemployment insurance taxes to the state on behalf of unauthorized workers in 2005. Unauthorized workers are prohibited by state law from collecting unemployment insurance benefits.
IOWA: A 2007 study by the Iowa Policy Project concluded that “undocumented immigrants pay an estimated aggregate amount of $40 million to $62 million in state taxes each year.” Moreover, “undocumented immigrants working on the books in Iowa and their employers also contribute annually an estimated $50 million to $77.8 million in federal Social Security and Medicare taxes from which they will never benefit. Rather than draining state resources, undocumented immigrants are in some cases subsidizing services that only documented residents can access.”
All in all, those people who are so quick to demand the removal of undocumented immigrants, who have lived and worked peacefully in this country, may not now understand the impact of their short-sighted paranoia but it’s clear from all the reserach that life with less Latinos could end up costing us all more.