Tennessee

The Volunteer State
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State Highlights
  • Total Latino Population

    328,979

  • Median Age of Latinos

    24.7

  • Median Income of Latinos 16+

    $35,941

  • # of Latino Registered Voters

    42,000

  • Latinos Without Health Insurance

    36.1%

  • Latino Homeownership

    37.4%

  • Latinos as % of All Under 18

    8.6%

Untitled-1

From 2000 to 2014, the Latino population in Tennessee increased by 162.0% and accounted for 24.1% of the state’s total population growth. 1

In 2014, Tennessee’s Latino population totaled 328,979 and constituted 5.0% of the state’s total population. 2

Much of the Latino population is concentrated in Nashville, Memphis, and Clarksville. 3 The two counties with the largest Latino populations were Davidson and Shelby. 4

In 2014, Tennessee’s Latino citizen voting age population numbered 105,000. 5

Furthermore, Latino registered voters totaled 42,000 and constituted 1.4% of all registered voters in the state. 6

Approximately 31.0% of Latino registered voters cast ballots during the November 2014 elections. 7

2015

Tennessee is one of seven states that implemented elements from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ naturalization exam into their high school curricula. Tennessee H10 requires high school students to take a test based on the civics section of the naturalization exam. 8

2014

Tennessee was one of twenty-six states that filed a lawsuit against the federal government, arguing that President Obama’s suspension of immigration laws was unconstitutional. 9

2013

Tennessee passed legislation (TN S170) that makes it illegal to buy or obtain products that come from individuals who rely on undocumented immigrants to operate. 10

64.9% of Latinos were citizens of the United States (57.6% were native born and 7.3% were naturalized). 11

42.4% of Latinos were foreign born. 12

72.8% of Latinos 5-years of age and older spoke Spanish. 13

Of Latino Spanish-speakers 5-years of age and older, 51.0% spoke English “very well”, 19.8% spoke English “well”, 20.2% spoke English “not well”, and 9.0% spoke English “not at all.” 14

The median age of Latinos was 24.7 years compared to 41.0 years for Whites. 15

39.7% of Latinos were under 18 years of age compared to 21.0% of Whites. 16

Latinos comprise 8.6% of all persons under the age of 18. 17

Of Latinos 25-years of age and older, 40.2% had less than a high school diploma (compared to 13.4% of Whites), 28.7% had a high school diploma, GED, or alternative credential (compared to 33.3% of Whites), 17.1% had some college or an Associate’s degree (compared to 26.9% of Whites), 10.2% had a Bachelor’s degree (compared to 17.1% of Whites), and 3.9% had a Graduate degree (compared to 9.4% of Whites). 18

Median household incomes totaled $35,941 for Latinos and $47,887 for Whites (in 2014 inflation-adjusted dollars). 19

36.1% of Latinos lacked health insurance compared to 10.1% of Whites. 20

37.4% of Latino households were owner occupied (compared to 71.5% of White households) and 62.6% were renter occupied (compared to 28.5% of White households). 21

7.7% of Latinos were unemployed compared to 6.6% of Whites. 22

The number of Latino-owned businesses grew 221.1% over a 10-year period, going from 4,301 in 2002 to 13,811 in 2012. 23 24

In 2012, receipts for Latino-owned businesses totaled $3.5 million, representing an increase of 95.6% from 2007. 25 26

In 2012, Latino-owned businesses employed 19,740 people with an annual payroll of $489,637. 27

In 2015, the Latino purchasing power in Tennessee totaled $7.5 billion. 28

From 2000 to 2014, Tennessee’s immigrant population increased 102.0%, growing from 159,004 in 2000 to 321,258 in 2014 (immigrant share of 4.9% in 2014). 29

In 2014, 26.4% of immigrants living in Tennessee entered the U.S. before 1990, 22.3% entered between 1990 and 1999, 36.1% entered between 2000 and 2009, and 15.2% entered after 2010. 30

According to a U.S. Census Bureau 2014 estimate, 46.5% of immigrants living in Tennessee were born in Latin America, 30.1% were born in Asia, 10.5% were born in Europe, 0.5% were born in Africa, and 3.0% were born in other regions. 31

36.0% of all immigrants in Tennessee were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2014. 32

In 2012, 96,313 people (or 3.0% of all registered voters in Tennessee) were newly naturalized citizens or U.S. born children of immigrants. 33

In 2014, foreign-born workers totaled 198,084 and made-up 5.7% of Tennessee’s workforce. 34

Between 2009 and 2013, 71,000 undocumented immigrants held permanent jobs in Tennessee, representing 66% of the undocumented civilian population. 35 In 2008, The Perryman Group found that removing undocumented immigrants from Tennessee would result in a $3.8 billion loss in economic activity and a $1.7 billion loss in gross state product, as well as a loss of 25,919 jobs. 36

Undocumented immigrants in Tennessee paid $108.6 million in state and local taxes in 2012. 37

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