Immigrants add nearly $1 billion to Mississippi's economy each year and other facts you should know

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Immigrants represent 2 percent of Mississippi’s population, but play a significant role in Mississippi’s labor force and economy, according to the American Immigration Council, which released data in October on Mississippi’s immigrant population and its contributions to the state.
Here are a few takeaways from this year’s report. You can read the full fact sheet here.
A third of Mississippi immigrants are naturalized U.S. citizens. “24,140 immigrants (33.4 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 13,300 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.”
Nearly 25 percent of adult immigrants in Mississippi have a college degree. Nearly a third have less than a high school diploma.
In Mississippi, more than 11,000 U.S. citizens live with at least one undocumented family member. “In 2014, approximately 25,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 37 percent of the immigrant population, or a fraction of the total state population at 0.8 percent. 26,954 people in Mississippi, including 10,195 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014. During the same period, 1 percent of children in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (8,876 children in total).”
Mississippi is home for more than 1,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. “As of 2016, 61 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Mississippi, or 1,693 people, had applied for DACA. An additional 2,000 residents of the state satisfied all but the educational requirements for DACA, and up to 1,000 others would be eligible as they grew older.”
Across the board, immigrants make up a significant portion of Mississippi’s labor force. “34,901 immigrant workers comprised 2.6 percent of the labor force in 2015.” Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:



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Accommodation and Food Services


Educational Services


Retail Trade


Mississippi immigrants contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. “Immigrant-led households in the state paid $245.4 million in federal taxes and $112.3 million in state and local taxes in 2014. Undocumented immigrants in Mississippi paid an estimated $22.7 million in state and local taxes in 2014. Their contribution would rise to $28 million if they could receive legal status.”“DACA recipients in Mississippi paid an estimated $4.2 million in state and local taxes in 2016.”

Mississippi immigrants add nearly a billion dollars to the state’s economy. “Mississippi residents in immigrant-led households had $983 million in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.”

Mississippi immigrant entrepreneurs “generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual business revenue.” “4,208 immigrant business owners accounted for 3.5 percent of all self-employed Mississippi residents in 2015 and generated $107.3 million in business income. In 2015, immigrants accounted for 9.9 percent of business owners in the Memphis metropolitan area (which spans Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee).”