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Immigrants Are an Integral Part of Illinois Communities

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on October 19, 2021

Immigrant populations are crucial for thriving Illinois communities, according to recent reports, as they account for a significant portion of workers, residents, and businesses owners. Today, Illinois communities rely on immigrant contributions to continue flourishing.

A Large Percentage of the State’s Population Are Immigrants

Today, according to data from Amerian Immigration Council, one in every seven residents in Illinois is an immigrant. Another one in seven is a native-born American citizen with one or more immigrant parents.

In 2018, 14% of the state’s population consisted of 1.8 million immigrants. A majority of these immigrants were from Mexico, with 36% of immigrants of Mexican heritage. Other top countries of origin include India, Poland, the Philippines, and China.

Most Illinois Immigrants Are Naturalized

American Immigration Council also found that 926,873 immigrants had undergone naturalization to become U.S. citizens in 2018. This accounts for 52% of the state’s immigrants. Additionally, 321,304 immigrants qualified to undergo naturalization in 2017.

Immigrants Contribute Largely to the Illinois Workforce

In 2018, one in six workers was an immigrant, comprising 18% of the Illinois labor force across a wide range of industries. The top industries for immigrant workers include, in descending order, manufacturing, healthcare and social assistance, accommodation and food services, retail trade, and construction.

When it came to specific roles, most immigrants found occupations in production, transportation and material moving, office and administrative support, sales, and management.

Immigrants Are Good for the Illinois and U.S. Economy

Immigrant households in Illinois also contributed $12.7 billion in federal tax dollars in 2018, along with $7.7 billion in both local and state taxes. Undocumented immigrants alone paid $708.9 million in local and state taxes, as well as around $945.5 million toward federal taxes.

After taxes, immigrants in Illinois have plenty of spending power in the state, possessing $47.8 billion of it in 2018.

A large number of business owners are also immigrants. Specifically, 23% of all self-employed residents in Illinois were immigrants, with 137,907 immigrant business owners generating around $2.8 billion in income across the state. Immigrants also comprise nearly one-third of business owners from the Chicagoland area to the Naperville and Joliet metropolitan areas. 

As immigrants continue to make up a significant portion of Illinois’s population, all of these numbers are likely to grow as they become even more integral to Illinois communities.