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Study: Immigrants Play Big Role in Region’s Economy



Immigrants — those living in the country legally and illegally — account for $1.8 billion in spending power in northern Nevada, finds a report by a non-partisan think tank, New American Economy.

The organization, launched by liberal former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and conservative Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch, estimates that immigrants account for about 12.5 percent of the population of Nevada’s Second Congressional District. The district includes Reno, Sparks, Carson City and all of rural northern Nevada east to the Utah state line.

Using publicly available statistics, many from the Census Bureau, the organization says immigrant workers account for 29.5 percent of the workers in the region’s hospitality and restaurant businesses, 26.4 percent of its workers in construction and nearly 22 percent of its workers in manufacturing.

New American Economy estimates that 3,200 immigrants in the region own businesses.

Immigrants, the research found, are more likely to be of working age than the native-born population. In Northern Nevada, 75.6 percent of immigrants are of working age, compared with 49.7 percent of native-born people.

About 40 percent of immigrants in the region haven’t finished high school, compared with 7.6 percent of the native-born population. College degrees are held by 18.4 percent of immigrants and 26.7 percent of native-born residents of the region.

Immigrants own about 19,000 houses in northern Nevada, the researchers found.

Although New American Economy didn’t estimate the number of undocumented immigrants in northern Nevada, it said people in the country illegally accounted for 30 percent of all immigrants in Nevada.  

If that percentage is accurate for northern Nevada, it means 26,000 illegal immigrants live in the region. The total immigrant population of Northern Nevada is estimated at 87,258.

John Seelmeyer
John Seelmeyer
John Seelmeyer is a business writer and editor in Reno. In his 40-year career, he has edited publications in Nevada, Colorado and California and written several thousand published articles about business and finance.