The New Americans
What are “New Americans?”
The term, “New Americans,” means simply immigrants to the United States. The earliest came to what is now the USA in about the year, 1,000 and settled in New Mexico. The first European immigrants arrived to Puerto Rico in 1521 and to the mainland (Georgia) in 1527. Immigrants have come every year since, and all of us are descended from them.
How many are there?
In 2013 there were about 41 million new Americans or about 13% of the country’s population.If we were to add their U.S.-born children, the total would be around 80 million.
In 2011, Maryland was home to about 812,000 new Americans, and 46% had been naturalized. They comprised more than 10% of eligible votors in the state.
In Montgomery County, for the past few years, about 32% of the residents have been born in other countries. That percent of our estimated population, 1.05 million gives an estimate of 336,000 new Americans at this point in time.
Who are they?
Countries of origen: A 2010 study in Montgomery County showed that 37% of the new Americans were from Asian countries. 35% were from Central and South America and the Caribbean, and the others were equally divided between Europe and Africa. The diversity here is outstanding. It is a major characteristic of our county.
Age, education, family values: In 2013, in the U.S. as a whole, about 80% of New Americans were between 18 and 64 years old – in other words, adults of working age. Nearly half were naturalized U.S. citizens.
These people strongly believe in education. In 2011, fully 41% of new Americans in Maryland, age 25 and above, held at least Bachelor’s degrees. Many had limited English language skills, but about 85% of their children were proficient in English.
As a whole, immigrants to the U.S. value education and hard work. They also value family life and support, even though they must leave their extended families to come here. Many come fleeing from danger or seeking economic opportunities, and some to accept positions at public and private sector organizations such as NIH and Astrazenica.
Income and purchasing power: The median personal earnings of immigrants to Montgomery County vary, with factors such as level of education, from about $24,000 per year for those who did not complete High School to perhaps $65,000 for those with college degrees. They do both menial and high technology work. Assuming that 64% of foreign born residents are in the labor force, and their median income is about $35,000 per year, the total in our county is $7.5 billion. This is a market to take seriously.
Motivation and propensity to take risks: Just coming to the USA, leaving behind so much and often arriving with so little, is a huge gamble, and this means that immigrants in general are risk-takers. This fact, combined with their difficulty in finding good jobs, drives many to open businesses. Studies show that new Americans have a higher rate of business ownership than native born Americans. One study showed that 40% of our country’s largest firms were started by immigrants.
Why do they matter to Montgomery County?
Excellent consumers: Most new Americans do not come with moving vans of household possessions. They need everything. They have a high propensity to consume and, as their income rises, they keep on consuming. In addition, many are accustomed to shopping in their neighborhoods rather than driving to large shopping centers or using the Internet.
Highly entrepreneurial: As noted above, immigrants as a whole are entrepreneurial. According to www.technical.ly/baltimore, a quarter of tech and engineering startups in Maryland are started by new Americans. In Washington D.C., according to a study by the American Immigration Council, about 35% of all business are owned by immigrants.
Eager to vote and be counted: Nearly all immigrants want to be accepted in their new homelands, and being naturalized and voting are major steps on the way. What is more, they account for a large percent of new votors – about 40% according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center.
The New Americans Expo
The New Americans Expo, to be held on October 4, 2015 in the Silver Spring Civic Center, will attract many exhibitors and a large number of attendees. Such an event was held in the Los Angeles Convention Center in December, 2014 and was highly successful. This will be an excellent event at which to introduce organizations, goods and services to a highly dynamic population.
Fact Sheet prepared by Kenneth Weiss of Plans and Solutions, Inc., consultants to the international food trade, in Derwood Maryland.
Information sources: BLS.gov, Census.gov, Economix.blogs, Forbes.com, Immigration Policy Center, MigrationPolicy.org, Montgomerycountymaryland.gov/partnerships, Wikipedia.com, www.democracyjournal.org, www.immigrationpolicy.org, and www.technical.ly/baltimore