Virginia’s General Assembly primaries are a week away and the general election is closing in fast. Nationally, enough Republicans have joined the race for president to field their own soccer team. Welcome to campaign season when the handshakes are firm and the facts are loose.
Time for a quiz on a favorite political target: immigration.
This morning, the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a Richmond- based nonprofit, released a report on immigrants (of all legal statuses) and their contributions to Central Virginia. Among those contributions: Seven out of 10 foreign-born adults residents of the region are working, a higher rate than that of non-immigrant residents. Among the challenges: One in six live in a household where the income is below poverty level — also a higher rate than non-immigrant households.
The timing of the report’s release is not coincidental.
“We have an election going on right now in Virginia where the entire General Assembly is up for reelection come November,” Michael Cassidy, president and CEO of the institute, said this morning at a presentation of the report in Chesterfield County, one of the region’s immigration hot spots. “Two Senate districts in this region are, in particular, very competitive and there’s a lot of empty rhetoric going on about immigrants.”
So, let’s debunk a few myths and test your knowledge of the 81,000 immigrants in Central Virginia. Answers provided in the charts below.
1. What are the top three regions from which the area's immigrants come -- from most to least.
C. Latin America
2. Most immigrants living in the region have lived here:
A. Between six and 10 years
B. Between zero and five years
C. More than 21 years
3. What percentage of immigrants in the region have bachelor’s degrees or higher?
A. 21 percent
B. 36 percent
C. 45 percent
4. Immigrants and nonimmigrants generally have similar household incomes, but immigrant households earn more in a few income ranges. Pick two:
A. $50,000 to $74,999
B. $25,000 to $49,999
C. $100,000 to $149,000
D. Greater than $200,000
5. What percentage of foreign-born Central Virginians have become naturalized U.S. citizens?
A. 19 percent
B. 33 percent
C. 40 percent
1: Tie between Latin America (37 percent), and Asia (37 percent). Europe is a distant third at 14 percent.
2: C. More than 21 years.
3: B. 36 percent
4: C, D. Immigrant households in Central Virginia represent a greater share of households earning between $100,000 and $149,000 and above $200,000.
5: C 40 percent