2004 December 03 Friday
Immigrant Population Growth Disconnected From American Economic Cycle

Advocates of high levels of immigration who favor toleration of illegal immigrants often claim that immigrants do jobs that no one else wants to do. But of course in a labor market, like any other market, there is always a price at which demand and supply equal. Absent the influx of low ability immigrants many of the jobs they do would still get done, albeit at a higher price. In many cases work would be restructured, innovative ways to get tasks done with less labor would be found, and more capital equipment and automation would be utilized.

A recent report from the Center for Immigration Studies

Among the findings:/p>

  • The 34.24 million immigrants (legal and illegal) now living in the country is the highest number ever recorded in American history and a 4.3-million increase since 2000.
  • Of the 4.3 million growth, almost half, or 2 million, is estimated to be from illegal immigration.
  • In the data collected by the Census Bureau, there were roughly 9 million illegal aliens. Prior research indicates that 10 percent of illegal aliens are missed by the survey, suggesting a total illegal population of about 10 million in March of this year.
  • The same data also show that in the years between 2000 and 2004, nearly 6.1 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) arrived from abroad. Arrivals are offset by deaths and return migration among immigrants already here, so the total increased by 4.3 million.
  • The 6.1 million new immigrants who arrived in the four years since 2000 compares to 5.5 million new arrivals in the four years prior to 2000, during the economic expansion.
  • The pace of immigration is so surprising because unemployment among immigrants increased from 4.4 to 6.1 percent, and the number of unemployed immigrants grew by 43 percent.
  • States with the largest increase in their immigrant population were Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.
"The idea that immigration is a self regulating process that rises and falls in close step with the economy is simply wrong,” said Steven Camarota, the report’s author and the Center’s Director of Research. “Today, the primary sending countries are so much poorer than the United States, even being unemployed in America is still sometimes better than staying in one’s home country.”

Note that in the 2000-2003 period total native employment was falling by a couple of million people while immigrant employment increased by about the same number. However, since total number of immigrants in the country was rising the immigrant unemployment rate was rising. So illegals came in larger numbers into a worsening job market to become unemployed here.

The areas with high concentrations of brains have low unemployment rates while high immigrant areas have high unemployment rates.

The lowest unemployment rate was in Bryan-College Station, Texas, at 1.7 percent. Of the 25 metro areas with unemployment rates below 3 percent in October, about half were homes to large state universities, the statistics bureau noted.

The nation's highest unemployment rate was in Yuma, Ariz. — 23.6 percent. All of the next-highest jobless rates were in six metro areas in the agricultural central valley of California.

Brains, not brawn, create the highest value jobs. Our immigration policy should reflect this fundamental fact.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 December 03 04:07 PM  Immigration Economics

Invisible Scientist said at December 4, 2004 12:54 PM:

Given that there is a strong correlation between IQ and income (as well as non-material success in life),
and given that intelligence is inherited (I have said this at the risk of being accused of bigotry, even though
Randall Parket and many others routinely accuse me of being leftist), the long term consequences of the current immigration
trends must be viewed accordingly.

I say that as long as the best and the brightest keep immigrating to America, even the influx of the less
fortunate immigrants won't be able destroy the US. The destruction and dismemberment of the USA will materialize only
if we lose the best and the brightest who are coming to the US and staying here.

This can be remedied as follows: Just modify the Annual Green Card Lottery. The latter system allocates tens of thousands of
green cards every year, to random applicants (about 50,000 per year if my memory is correct.) If we increase the educational
and IQ requirements for these lottery participants, the US will gain tremendously. The best and the brightest are are very
assimilable, and they become as American as apple pie within one generation, and they create millions of jobs for the rest of us.
The secret of the US has been the fact that the most brilliant people are in the US. If this changes, the US will be totally demolished.

noone said at December 5, 2004 8:56 AM:

Your post is a strawman,no one(aside from computer programmers) is complaining about high-end immigration,except in so far as it leads to the family unification daisy chain(is there really a critical need for motel managers?).Cheap nannies,maids and gardeners are an economic luxury,not a necessity,except to upscale proffesional white women who are increasingly uncomfortable as it is revealed that much of their have-it-all lifestyles depends on cheap immigrants cleaning the house and caring for their status symbol offspring.Any attempt to extend the joys of feminist entitlement to the immigrant women would wreck the system that benefits themselves so much.

"I say that as long as the best and the brightest keep immigrating to America, even the influx of the less
fortunate immigrants won't be able destroy the US."

Statistics posted on this site and elsewhere already disprove this theory and the best and the brightest can increasingly make a fine living at home,anyway,why move to country where they would be taxed heavily to subsidize low-end immigrants and aging natives?.I suggest you check Steve Sailor's stats on California,a state increasingly divided between the(white)upscale and affluent and the(brown)downscale and entitlement dependent,despite a very large population of college educated residents,native and immigrant.The low-end wave is just too large

Your lottery idea is a pallative to perpetuate a failed system and it's dogmas and doesn't address the real problem.

Again,high-end immigration is not the problem,it's the huge size of the low-end.
If you want to save immigration,I suggest you strongly advocate wholesale reform of the system,as I do.

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