JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A study released by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation reveals how much the Arkansas economy is impacted by immigrants who have chosen to make Arkansas their home.
"Immigrants are contributing to the social fabric of our state through their culture, their presence, just making Arkansas vibrant. Additionally, we found that there was a net positive economic development benefit to having immigrants in our state to the tune of almost $4 billion annually."
Foundation President and CEO Dr. Sherece West-Scantlebury says the research from the "2013 Profile of Immigrants in Arkansas" shows Latinos are the fastest growing racial ethnic group in the state.
"Two-thirds of immigrants in Arkansas are Latino. The other third are from other countries around the world," she said.
Also, Latino men have the highest employment rate of any other demographic.
"Of the Latinos in our state, there is close to over 90 percent employment rate amongst Latino males."
The foundation is making sure the data from the study is available to policymakers and communities.
"In terms of how we would like our study to be used in this debate or discussion around immigration reform, we are providing accurate data on the impact of immigrants in Arkansas and we hope that you take that data and have discussions that aren't based on emotion or perception."
Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 1990 and 2000 Census of Population and Housing, and data from 2005 to 2010 from the American Community Survey.
Click here to read the entire study.