2008 October 20 Monday
Immigrant Wage Improvements Smaller Than Previously Thought

Immigrants do not improve their incomes as much as previously thought.

Economist Darren Lubotsky says immigrants close the earning gap with American-born workers about half as fast as previously thought.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Immigrants whittle into a broad earnings gap with American-born workers only about half as fast as long-accepted estimates suggest, according to new research by a University of Illinois economist.

Darren Lubotsky says immigrants’ typically low starting wages grow just 10 to 15 percent faster than native-born workers over their first 20 years in the U.S., well short of the 26 percent catch-up rate in widely used, census-based projections.

Lubotsky says census estimates are flawed because they only compare wages of immigrants and native workers polled in the once-a-decade surveys, and fail to factor in the roughly third of immigrants – most low paid -- who come to the U.S. then leave.

“The reason it appears immigrants catch up quicker based on census data is because, in that data, we’re mostly seeing the successful ones, those who decided to remain here,” said Lubotsky, a member of the U. of I. Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

“Immigrants who have been in the U.S. for decades tend to have relatively high earnings, but the data don’t include many low-earning immigrants who left and therefore weren’t surveyed,” he said. “The earnings of those who stay do grow, but only about half as fast as previous estimates indicated.”

Census estimates are further skewed, he says, because seasonal workers and other low-earning immigrants who routinely go back and forth between the U.S. and their home countries are sometimes misclassified as new arrivals, inflating the pay averages for long-term immigrants.

The longer term prospects for wage increases across generations are poor as well. After the second generation Mexican immigrants show no academic performance improvement. The libertarian Benthamite arguments for open borders are wrong. Immigration is causing a general dumbing down which will lower the quality of life in America.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 October 20 09:57 PM  Immigration Economics

HellKaiserRyo said at October 21, 2008 3:57 AM:

You should go back and provide a link to that article Randall.

realist gun nut said at October 21, 2008 9:12 AM:

There are two things that seem to be forgotten by the ethnic warfare specialists among the elites in this country who want to ensure they maintain their grip on the top positions, or perhaps they have not been forgotten at all:

1. Among any group of people, there is a certain percentage of criminality, but that percentage differs by group and is correlated with average IQ among that group. Importing a large number of low-IQ people tends to increase the percentage of crime-oriented people and has an impact among those who cannot insulate themselves from it.

2. IQ is distributed roughly normally in any community, so many, many young people need entry-level jobs to start them on their way in the workforce. They can't all get internships or get highly paid jobs straight out of college because they took math-heavy classes or because their parents could afford to send them to Harvard. However, when all the low-wage (entry-level) jobs are tied down by illegal immigrants, many, many more of the middle class are prevented from rising into the upper class and usurping the positions of the elites.

If I were a conspiracy-minded person ...

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