A new research report, New Americans in Houston: A Snapshot of the Demographic and Economic Contributions of Immigrants in the Houston Metro Area, released by the American Immigration Council, underscores the crucial role immigrants play in the Houston metro area’s economy. The report was published in partnership with Amegy Bank, Texas Association of Business (TAB), American Leadership Forum, Center for Houston’s Future, Leadership Houston, and Texans for Economic Growth (TEG), a coalition of over 145 Texas business leaders and associations dedicated to recognizing and supporting immigrants’ positive impact on the Texas economy as business owners, taxpayers, and consumers. 

The report highlights the economic and demographic contributions of immigrants to the metro area. In 2021 alone, immigrant households earned $66.5 billion in income, with $11.1 billion going to federal taxes and $5.2 billion to state and local taxes, leaving them with $50.2 billion in spending power that can be reinvested in local communities. Immigrants contribute to Houston’s economy beyond a simple dollar amount. New Americans are helping the metro area meet its labor force demands. Despite only accounting for 24.0 percent of the metro area’s population, immigrants represented 30.1 percent of the working age population and 31.0 percent of its employed labor force in 2021. Immigrants also comprised 41.9 percent of entrepreneurs, 35.5 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workers, 44.1 percent of agriculture workers, and 50.3 percent of construction workers, contributing a wide array of skills in fast-growing industries and playing an outsized role in the region’s labor force.   

The launch of the report took place on February 27 at Houston: Poised to Lead, where more than 130 business leaders, government officials, and community members gathered for its unveiling and for a discussion on the significance of immigration for the Houston metro area economy and how local leaders can lead the national dialogue around immigration issues. Amegy Bank, in collaboration with the Texas Association of Business, hosted the event, which included a presentation on the report’s data and a panel moderated by Council Executive Director Jeremy Robbins comprised of Amegy Bank CEO Steve Stephens, Employment and Training Centers, Inc. President & CEO Irma Diaz Gonzalez, Harris Health System President & CEO Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, MD, and TAB President & CEO Glenn Hamer. The panel discussed how the new research can be used to best support immigrants in the Houston community and the imperative for the business community to engage in discussions around sensible immigration policies. As part of the event’s programming, the Council shared its naturalization fact sheet, and Harris County Commissioners Lesley Briones and Adrian Garcia highlighted the county’s commitment to naturalizing more Harris County residents, citing $5.8 million allocated to support naturalization as part of the Naturalize Now, Houston initiative. According to the New Americans in Houston report, there are 244,557 immigrants in the Houston metro that are likely eligible to naturalize, comprising 24.4 percent of the non-citizen immigrant population.  

In addition to the above-named organizations the American Business Immigration Coalition, Children at Risk, EMGAGE Texas, Greater Houston LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, Mi Familia Vota, The New Americans Campaign, and NALEO Education Fund all aided in the success of the report launch and event.