Oregon’s Hispanic Population is Growing Faster Than the State as a Whole—And Hispanics Are Employed a Far Higher Rate Than White Oregonians

Despite anti-immigrant sentiment, research shows immigration is a big positive for the state's economy.

Cannon Beach, Ore. (Ian Whitmore)

Although anti-immigration groups continue to look for ways to target non-natives, the demographic and economic news about Oregon's growing Latinx population is all good, according to new state research.

Compared to white Oregonians, a report from the Oregon Employment Department found, Hispanic Oregonians are younger, much more likely to be employed and more likely to start new businesses. And, the Hispanic population is growing faster than the state's population as a whole.

The average share of Hispanics who were employed increased slightly to 66.9 percent and the share of non-Hispanic whites who were employed decreased to 56.7 percent.

"Much of this outsized economic impact is due to the younger age structure of the Hispanic population in the U.S.," writes Employment Department economist Erik Knoder. "The increasing share of Hispanics in Oregon bodes well for the state's economic future."

The picture isn't entirely rosy, however. Previous studies have found that Hispanics earn substantially less than non-Hispanic white Oregonians.

In 2015, the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs reported the annual personal earnings for Hispanic Oregonians was about $10,000 less than for non-Hispanic whites—a  gap the reflects lower levels of education.

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