An influx of Hispanic immigrants has fueled economic growth in hundreds of formerly declining rural counties in the United States and boosted per capita incomes. That’s the conclusion of a study in the September 2012 issue of the journal Contemporary Economic Policy.
Economists Dennis Coates and T.H. Gindling analyzed the economic fates of nearly 1,500 rural counties that lost population during the 1970s and ’80s. In the ’90s population loss was reversed in many of those far-flung counties when Hispanic immigrants and their families settled there.
Hispanic immigrants worked hard at jobs natives scorned, Coates and Gindling say, and “brought unmeasurable human capital such as motivation to succeed, an ability to innovate, and a greater willingness to take risks.” The result is that between 1990 and 2000 incomes grew 6 percent faster, on average, in those rural counties where Hispanic immigration had reversed population loss.