National workforce growth and tight labor markets

February 18th, 2019

I shared the other day that Utah’s labor force—the number of people ages 16 and over holding or seeking a job—has grown an average of 1.9% a year from 2010 through January 2018, more than triple the nation’s 0.6% pace. Let’s put this in larger context.

Annualized working age population growth for 2000 through 2020 and 2020 through 2040 for areas of the world is estimated in the U.S. (+0.85%, +0.2%), Eurozone (+0.1%, -0.5%) and Japan (-0.6%, -0.8%).

The ratio of the number job openings to the number of unemployed workers at the end of 2018 was 1.7 in Japan, and slightly over 1 in the U.S.

Immigrant-related students account for 100% of student pop growth

February 16th, 2019

Using data that ended in 2008 (but the basic pattern has continued), children of immigrant parents were above 30% of all children in some states.

Young children of immigrants account for more than 30% of children in seven states and 20–30% of children in 12 states. Children of immigrants accounted for between 10 and 20% of children in 18 states. Their share is lower in the remaining 14 states (less than 10%). The seven states with over 30% in 2008 were CA, TX, NV, AZ, FL, NJ and NY.

The number of young children of immigrants doubled between 1990 and 2008; this increase accounts for the entire growth in the U.S. population of young children since 1990. Currently, 8.7 million U.S. children age 0 to 8 have at least one foreign-born parent, a doubling from 4.3 million in 1990. By contrast, the number of children with native-born parents has declined slightly from 27.8 million in 1990 to 27.3 million in 2008. Thus, children of immigrants accounted for the entire growth in the number of young children in the United States between 1990 and 2008.

In 2008, 43% of the immigrant parents of children were from Mexico. This percentage has probably declined somewhat since 2008 because of the flattening out of migration from Mexico compared with the growth of Asian and Central American immigrants.

From here.




Spotlight on Australia

February 14th, 2019

Sentiment moves against immigration

For the first time ever, the long-running Lowy Poll reported in 2018 A majority (54%) say ‘the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high’ up from 40% in 2017. 30% say it is ‘about right’; and 14% say it is ‘too low’. The same-sized majority said that ‘Australia’s openness to people from all over the world is essential to who we are as a nation’. However, 41% said ‘if Australia is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation’.

The country is absorbing major changes in immigration since the mid 1990s.

The Guardian reported in 2018 on immigration trends since 1996:

  • A massive increase in Australia’s annual permanent migration intake – from 85,000 in 1996 to 208,000 last year.
  • The emergence of India and China as the largest sources – by far – of migrants.
  • The movement away from family migration to skilled migration targeting national workforce needs. In 1996, family migration was about two-thirds of the program, and skilled one-third. Those ratios are now reversed.
  • A huge increase in temporary migration to Australia – through short-term work visas and international students
  • The rise of “two-step migration”, where those on short-term visas (gain permanent residency.
  • The emergence of migration, rather than natural increase (i.e. births) as the primary driver of population increase.

Immigrant representation in Congress: 68

February 12th, 2019

14 members of Congress are foreign-born and 54 are children of immigrants in the 116th Congress. That’s 16% of the Senate (16) and 12% of the House (52).

19 represent California, or 35% of that state’s entire representation. California’s population is ¼ foreign born, and contains ¼ of all foreign born persons in the country.

Newly elected Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and fled with her family in 1991 after the country’s civil war started. Her family spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya and later moved to America, where she became a citizen in 2000. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., was born in communist Poland before coming to the U.S. at age 6 with his mother.

Others had parents who fled their native countries. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., was born to a Polish mother who survived the Holocaust and came to the U.S. in 1950. Rep. Joe Neguse, also a Democrat representing Colorado, was born to Eritrean parents who fled their country in 1980 when it was embroiled in war with Ethiopia.

The countries most represented by current or children of immigrants are: Mexico (13), Cuba (8), Germany (6), and India (5).

Under the U.S. Constitution, an immigrant taking office in the House must be a U.S. citizen for seven years or more, age 25 or older and living in the state where he or she is elected. Nine years of citizenship are required to serve in the Senate, and the person must be 30 or older and live in the represented state when elected.

By the authors of this study: “In this analysis, we examined lawmakers’ birthplaces and parentage through news stories, obituaries, candidate statements, and congressional and genealogical records, as well as contacting congressional staff.”

From Pew Research.

Skyrocketing remittance growth

February 10th, 2019

Remittances from countries and to others reflect the increasingly intertwined nature of the global economy, and the role of migration in particular.  Since 1980 global remittances have grown on average by about 20% a year.

According to the World Bank remittances from the United States to other countries were $1.4B in 1980. That was 5% of the total $28.9B in global remittances, and the U.S. was the fifth largest source.  In 2000 remittances from the U.S. were $34.4B, or 29% of total global remittances. It was the largest source by far.  In 2017, Americans sent $67.9B.  That was 15% of the global total of $445B.

Between 2000 and 2017, several countries greatly increased their sending of remittances. Countries which sent at large remittances in 2017 were United Arab Emirates ($44B) which tripled its remittances since the mid 2000s; Switzerland ($27B) which was a major remittance source for decades; Saudi Arabia ($36B), a long time major source; and Germany ($20B), a long time major source.

Texas’ fantasy about non-citizens voting

February 8th, 2019

Voter fraud is vanishingly  rare. One strategy used by anti-immigration advocates is to count the apparent number of persons who (1) declare themselves non-citizens on their driving licenses and who (2) are listed on voter rolls. I discussed this attempt in Virginia.

The Texas Secretary of State says that some 58,000 matches have voted at least once. That is almost certainly a large over-count of the actual matches. The vast majority of the remaining accurate matches is almost certainly due to non-controversial lags in updating of records.

There are 1.8 million naturalized citizens and 3 million non-citizens in Texas. Driver’s licenses in Texas are issued for five years. Over the course of five years, hundreds of thousands of non-citizens in Texas were likely naturalized. They are not required to update their citizen status except on renewal.

In Virginia, with an adult population of 6.4 million, at most 2,145 persons who were non-citizens voted. That estimate is before you take into account lags in updating records.

Attempts in Florida and Colorado to purge non-citizens turned out to be inconsequential.

So here is the situation in Texas, where there are 3 million non-citizen foreign-born persons and 1.8 million naturalized immigrants. Exact data is not available, but it appears that over the course of a year, some 50-75,000 non-citizens in Texas become naturalized, or perhaps 250,000 or more over five years.

The Texas Secretary of State issued on January 25 an advisory to local election boards about mis-matches between the citizenship status on a person’s driving license and voter registration. The Secretary of State found many voter registrations with identifying information consistent with the person being listed on driver license records as being a non-citizen.

The Secretary of State said in a press release that “95,000 individuals identified by DPS as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in Texas, approximately 58,000 of whom have voted in one or more Texas elections.”

Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty wrote that:” In El Paso County election administrator Lisa Wise saw one of her own staff members named on the list of 4,152 names she received. “We had a naturalization party for her” when the staffer became a citizen in 2017, Wise told the Texas Tribune. “She had gone and gotten her driver’s license, I think, four years ago.”

The 95,000 matches found by the Secretary of State likely includes some records for which there is in fact no match. For the accurate matches, the overwhelming explanation is that, was non-citizens became naturalized, they failed to change their citizenship status on their driver’s license, which they could have obtain a decade or longer ago.

There are 18.5 million people living in Texas 18 years or older. Using Virginia as a benchmark, there may be 10,000 on-citizens in Texas who have voted, and that estimate is likely highly inflated due to reporting lags.

The Government Accountability Office analyzes physical border security

February 5th, 2019

Homeland Security, as of last summer, had not performed an analysis of the effectiveness of border fencing and infrastructure, according to a GAO report issued in July, 2018:

“Customs and Border Protection spent approximately $2.3 billion between fiscal years 2007 and 2015 to deploy physical barriers along the nearly 2,000-mile southwest border and, as of March 2018, maintained 654 miles of primary pedestrian and vehicular barriers.

In September 2009, we found that CBP had not assessed the impact of tactical infrastructure—fencing, gates, roads, bridges, lighting, and drainage infrastructure—on border security operations or mission goals. Specifically, we found that CBP had not accounted for the impact of its investment in border fencing and infrastructure on border security. We recommended that CBP conduct an evaluation of the impact of tactical infrastructure on effective control of the border. In February 2017, we found that CBP had not developed metrics that systematically used the data it collected to assess the contributions of border fencing to its mission.”

The GAO report details a succession of Congressional mandates for border security, going back to 1996 (Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, REAL ID Act of 2005, the Secure Fence Act of 2006, The DHS Appropriations Act of 2008.

“To address these requirements, from fiscal year 2005 through fiscal year 2015, CBP increased the total miles of primary barriers on the southwest border from 119 miles to 654 miles—including 354 miles of primary pedestrian barriers and 300 miles of primary vehicle barriers. CBP used various designs to construct the existing 654 miles of primary fencing. “

Immigrant dairy workers have higher rates of work injuries

February 4th, 2019

Researchers interviewed immigrant dairy workers in Colorado. 29% had sustained at least one work injury in the past year (official government average for diary workers is 6%). About 60% were caused by cows. A third did not tell their supervisor. Only 20% received medical care. One third had not received any safety training. Half had not told their doctor that they worked at a dairy farm.

Background: Studies of work injuries worldwide show a consistent pattern of higher occupational morbidity and mortality among immigrant workers.

A study of occupational fatalities of Hispanic construction workers in the U.S. from 1992 to 2000 found that Hispanics constituted 15% of construction workers in 2000 but suffered 23.5% of fatal construction injuries.

Global data on immigration and occupational injury are limited but tend to confirm the findings from U.S. studies. An Australian study of occupational fatalities found increased rates among foreign-born workers within 5 years of immigration.

Many investigators have speculated on the causes of increased occupational fatalities among immigrant workers. Common explanations include the assignment of more hazardous tasks to immigrant workers, failure of employers to invest in safety training and equipment, greater
risk-taking by immigrant workers, and failure to complain about unsafe conditions by workers who may have precarious job status.

(Dairy information from Lauren Mengre-Ogle et al, Occupational safety and health of foreign born Latinx dairy workers in Colorado. American Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine January 2019. Background information from Marc Shenker, A global perspective of migration and occupational Health. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2010)

U.S. remittances to countries heavily influenced by income of immigrants in U.S.

February 2nd, 2019

When you look at which countries are receiving the largest sums of remittances from the U.S., it becomes clear that the flows are heavily influenced by not only the size of the immigrant population in the U.S. but also by their income level. Let’s examine this by using the number of first generation immigrants.

For example, in 2017 U.S. remittances to Mexico were about $30B. there are about 18 million first generation Hispanics in the U.S, roughly two thirds of whom are Mexican, or 12 million. This comes to the equivalent of about $2,500 per immigrant. Virtually all of remittances to Mexico come from the U.S. ($30B is equivalent to 3% of the country’s GDP.)

In 2017 about $6.1B was remitted to Nigeria, about 28% of all remittance income in that country. There are not more than 250,000 first generation Nigerians in the U.S. That comes to an equivalent of $24,000 per first generation immigrant – ten times that of Mexicans. ($6.1B is equivalent to 1.5% of the country’s GDP.)

What Wall supporters really want: close down immigration

January 30th, 2019

Ronald Brownstein at CCN dissects a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute. Three-fourths of adults who support the wall say immigrants burden local communities because they use too many public services; two-thirds of wall opponents say immigrants are not an undue burden. Two-thirds of wall supporters say it bothers them when they come into contact with immigrants who don’t speak English well; three-fourths of wall opponents said it does not bother them.

Two-thirds of wall supporters say the growing number of immigrants “threatens traditional American customs and values,” while four-fifths of opponents say the change instead “strengthens American society.”

Over eight-in-10 wall supporters back a temporary ban on immigration from some Muslim countries, while three-fourths of wall opponents oppose a ban. And while nearly seven-in-10 wall opponents reject legislation to reduce the level of legal immigration, over eight-in-10 wall supporters want the US to accept fewer legal immigrants.