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New Study: Hispanic Immigrants Driving 1/4th of NV Economy

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 By Michael Clifford/David Law, Contact
March 16, 2007

It's not the kind of numbers you hear a lot about in the often-heated debate over immigration, but a new study finds Hispanic immigrants are an essential force driving the state's economy. Hispanic immigrants make up 16 percent of the state's population, get 10 percent of the pay, and according to Robert Ginsburg with the Center on Work and Community Development, make a contribution far greater than their numbers.

"From the work that they do and then the money they spend, you add that all together and that accounts for a quarter of the state's economy."

Nevada now ranks fifth in the nation for the percentage of immigrants in its population. Ginsburg says it's because they work in dynamic sectors of the economy, like agriculture, mining and gaming that they exert such a powerful force on the economy.

Assemblyman Mo Denis hopes future legislative debates will factor in the study's findings, including the fact that the economic impact also supports over 100,000 additional jobs.

"You know you hear a lot of people saying that they're costing us money, but in actuality, what we're seeing is that they're actually helping us to be more than, I think per capita, that what the average person does."

Hispanic immigrants now make up a whopping 81 percent of Nevada's agricultural workforce, and researcher Robert Ginsberg says that's just one way they help generate a quarter of the state's economic output, which is also called the Gross State Product.

"You talk about your agriculture and the work they do. It generates a lot of other material that's sold. And the value of the gaming industry, hotels and tourism, you know it ripples through the economy."

The full report is available via email from

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