The Power of Immigrants in Louisiana

Jul 20, 2015

I am a proponent of immigration not just because of my chosen profession, but because I firmly believe that immigrants make us better and stronger. Immigrant entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors bring in additional revenue, create jobs, and contribute significantly to Louisiana’s economy. New Orleans, as the state’s largest metropolitan area is a historic hub of shipping, commerce, and tourism. The American Immigration Council has complied some compelling statistics and put together some meaningful numbers about the role immigrants play in Louisiana.

While I found all of the report fascinating the facts that stood out the most for me were:

In 2010, 8.2 percent of all business owners in Louisiana were foreign-born, and new immigrant business owners had total net business income of $691 million, which is 6.7 percent of all net business income in the state.

Immigrants comprised 5.4% of the state’s workforce in 2013 (or 118,068 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2013-2014, Louisiana’s 6,976 foreign students contributed $175 million to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor certified 1,329 H-1B high-skilled visa labor condition attestations in Louisiana, with an average annual wage of $60,916. The New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner metropolitan area had 566 H-1B requests in 2010-2011, with 47.3 percent of visa-holders working in STEM occupations. Major employers included Tulane University, Comtec Consultants Inc., and the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. The Baton Rouge metropolitan area had 512 H-1B requests in 2010-2011, with 51 percent of visa-holders working in STEM occupations. Major employers included East Baton Rouge Parish School System, and the Louisiana State University and A&M College.

Immigration and immigrants form a small but important part of our community. They can be a great asset to the future and growth of our city and state.

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