Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

Puerto Ricans in a nutshell

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

The United States acquired Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship.

The first major wave of Puerto Rican migration to the mainland was in the 1950s, when a half million persons migrated. As of 2011, per the Pew Research Center, an estimated 4.9 million Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin resided on mainland U.S. That was more than the population of Puerto Rico itself in 2011, which was 3.7 million. Migration to the mainland has been heavy since the start of the Great Recession.

Puerto Ricans are the second-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 9.5% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2011, after Mexicans (33.5 million, or 64.6%, of the Hispanic population in 2011).

In 2011, 69% of Puerto Ricans were born on the mainland. People born in Puerto Rico are also considered native born because they are U.S. citizens by birth.

82% of Puerto Ricans ages 5 and older speak English proficiently.

Puerto Ricans are concentrated in the Northeast (53%), mostly in New York (23%), and in the South (30%), mostly in Florida (18%).

Puerto Ricans have higher levels of education than the Hispanic population overall but lower levels than the U.S. population overall. Some 16% of Puerto Ricans ages 25 and older—compared with 13% of all U.S. Hispanics and 29% among the U.S. population—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.

The share of Puerto Ricans who live in poverty, 28%, is higher than the rate both for the general U.S. population (16%) and for Hispanics overall (26%). In 2016, Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate was more than double that of the mainland.


Attracting PhD talent to the US

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

In about 1980, PhD candidates began to show up from middle income countries, and from about 1990 candidates from low income countries (mainly India and China) surged. In 2008, close to half of PhD candidates in the U.S. in science and engineering came from abroad.

According to a 2013 published article, “Over the last half century, the United States has been the most important training ground for the global supply of science and engineering talent. Where S&E PhDs choose to locate after they have completed their education is likely to affect the global distribution of innovative capacity.

“77% of foreign-born S&E PhDs state that they plan to stay in the United States. The foreign students more likely to stay in the US are those with stronger academic ability, measured in terms of parental educational attainment and the student’s success in obtaining graduate fellowships.

“We find that S&E PhDs with the strongest academic potential, measured in terms of their attributes and performance at the time they enter graduate school, are those most intent on staying in the United States. The United States tends to succeed in luring the best and
brightest foreign students it has attracted to study in the country to stay in the United States after their degrees are completed.

“As countries develop they become more attractive locations for PhDs in science and engineering. Korea and Taiwan are possible examples of self-reinforcing processes [to return home]. They also provide examples of the powerful role that democratization can play in encouraging highly skilled workers to return home.”

Source: Attracting Talent: Location Choices of Foreign-Born PhDs in the United States. By
Jeffrey Grogger and Gordon H. Hanson.


Immigrants over-represented in creativity in U.S.

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Immigrants win disproportionately more MacArthur Genius grants and Nobel prizes and file more patents than do native-born Americans. Frank Bruni brought these counts together in a column in the NY Times.

MacArthur Grants: 20 grants for MacArthur Fellows have been be issued annually since 1981, over which time the foreign born population has averaged about 10%. Immigrants have won 21.7% of all grants.

Nobel Prizes: Adil Najam, a Boston University professor wrote in 2016: “Since its inception in 1901, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences have been awarded to 911 persons and organization. The U.S. alone has had more than 350 Nobel winners. More than 100 of these have been to individuals born outside the U.S.” That means that at least 28% of U.S.Nobel laureates have been immigrants.

Patents: Jennifer Hunt, a professor of economics at Rutgers University reports that, among graduates of American colleges, immigrants are twice as likely to receive patents as native-born Americans. Her research further suggests that this doesn’t come at the expense of native-born Americans but in fact stimulates their innovation, too. Hunt’s findings are entirely accounted for by immigrants disproportionately holding degrees in science and engineering. The total amount of patents goes up in states with a high foreign graduate population.

Nobel prizes, faculty appointments, and immigrants to the U.S.

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

2016’s US Nobel laureates dominated the headlines not only for winning seven of the eleven prizes given worldwide, but because six of the winners are immigrants to the United States working at US educational institutions.

Since the Nobel Prize was established in the early 1900s, about 40% of the more than 900 prizes have gone to Americans. About 35% of all US Nobel laureates have been immigrants to the United States. Since the 1950s, about 15% of all Nobel Prizes awarded have gone to immigrants in the U.S.

Eighty percent of those individuals worked at universities at the time of winning the Nobel Prize.

in 2000 15.4% of faculty members were born outside the country and in 2004 that number increased to 22.1%. Foreigners in 2004 accounted for about 12% of the total population. today account for about 13% of the total population and 17% of the American workforce.

From the Institute for Immigration Research


School students: 23% are from immigrant families

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Almost one out of four (23%) public school students in the United States came from an immigrant household in 2015. As recently as 1990 it was 11%, and in 1980 it was just 7%.

Immigrant households are concentrated; just 700 of the 2,351 Census Bureau-designated PUMAs (Public Use Microdata Areas) account for two-thirds of students from immigrant households

In these 700 immigrant-heavy areas, half the students are from immigrant households.

Some of the metropolitan areas where students from immigrant households account for the largest share of enrollment include: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 60%; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif., 57%; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla., 54%; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, 50%; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 50%; Yuma, Ariz., 50%; Las Cruces, N.M., 44%; New York-Newark-Jersey City, 44%; Yakima, Wash., 44%; Trenton, N.J., 42%; Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev., 38%; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, 37%; Gainesville, Ga., 36%.

Immigration has added enormously to the population of students who speak a foreign language. In 2015, 23% of public school students spoke a language other than English at home. This compares to 14% in 1990 and 9% in 1980.

The impact of immigration varies a great deal across metropolitan statistical areas. In 38 of the nation’s 260 MSAs more than a third of students are from immigrant households, but in 40 of the nation’s MSAs fewer than 5 percent of students are from immigrant households.

From “Mapping the Impact of Immigration on Public Schools


English language skills of low skilled immigrants

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The English language proficiency of immigrants has increased, most notably in the past ten or so years. This upward trend is seen in important groups such as Mexicans. But English language proficiency of Mexican immigrants declined in the 1990s. What was the impact of that, and why did it happen? The explanation has to do with demographics of immigrants and job growth in the 1990s.

Researchers looked at the impact on earnings and education when immigrants learn English. English proficiency helps in getting better paying jobs. It also enables the immigrant to obtain more formal education. Another study found that the benefits of English proficiency were primarily in becoming more educated. Young persons with English were more inclined to complete high school.

Demographic trends actually caused English proficiency among low skilled immigrants to decline. In 1990, 80% of individuals from non English-speaking countries said that they spoke English very well. In 2000, 70% said so. The decline is due to the large increase in immigrants, many unauthorized, in the 1990s.

During that decade, an hourglass profile of workers and jobs enlarged. There was a sharp increase in demand for service workers such as food preparation, janitors, gardeners, security guards, housekeeping ,cleaning and laundry workers. These low skilled jobs require limited language skills.

The English language skills of these jobholders declined in the 1990s. On factor in lower English proficiency is that with larger numbers of non-English proficient residents, these individuals were more able to find work that did not require English proficiency. This led to great linguistic and cultural isolation.

One researcher, writing in 2015 (Cassidy) found a large decline in the earnings of childhood immigrants in the U.S. between 1990 and 2010, and in particular during the 1990s. This drop in earnings has occurred across all age at arrival groups, but has disproportionately impacted lower-educated immigrants. A large decline in English language proficiency can explain much of this trend. A concentration of source countries (largely, through not entirely, due to an increase in Mexican immigration) has also contributed, mainly through the negative impacts it has had on English language proficiency and education levels.

See: Language Skills and the Earnings Distribution Among Child Immigrants, by Wang and Wang

The Decline in Earnings of Childhood Immigrants in the U.S., by Cassidy

Refugees in America, in historical context

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

The RAISE Act, proposed by Republican senators and endorsed by the White House, would cap annual refugee immigration at 50,000, which is well below the volume of many years. The Obama administration had targeted 110,000. In 2016, the EU set a plan to settled 22,000 refugees over two years. Put these figures in the context that over one million people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere have applied for refugee or asylum status in Europe.

There have been roughly two million refugees or asylees admitted to the U.S. since 1975. The net population growth of the U.S. since then has been 100 million. The vast majority of refugees has come from countries with or over whom the U.S. has been engaged in some form of conflict, such as Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq.  

The 1980 Refugee Act established formal criteria and legal statuses for the admission of refugees and migrants of humanitarian concern, including the establishment of an asylum system and the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Per Pew Research, historically, the total number of refugees coming to the U.S. has fluctuated along with global events and U.S. priorities. From 1990 to 1995, an average of about 112,000 refugees arrived in the U.S. each year. Refugee admissions dropped off to fewer than 27,000 in 2002 following the terrorist attacks in 2001.

The U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in the fiscal year 2016, the most in any year during the Obama administration.  The Obama target was 110,000.

In fiscal 2016, the highest number of refugees from any nation came from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Congo accounted for 16,370 refugees followed by Syria (12,587), Burma (aka Myanmar, with 12,347), Iraq (9,880) and Somalia (9,020). Over the past decade, the largest numbers of refugees have come from Burma (159,692) and Iraq (135,643).

Cambodians: Between 1975 and 1994, nearly 158,000 Cambodians were admitted. About 149,000 of them entered the country as refugees, and 6,000 entered as immigrants and 2,500 as humanitarian and public interest parolees

Vietnamese: At the Fall of Saigon, about 125,000 Vietnamese were admitted into the U.S. in 1980 there were 231,000 Vietnamese living in the U.S. Large-scale Vietnamese migration to the United States began as a humanitarian flow after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and, over time, transformed into one of family reunification. By 2014, 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants resided in the United States representing 3 percent of the nation’s 42.4 million immigrants.

Russian Jews: Emigration of Russian Jews to the U.S. began in the early 1970s, at an annual flow of about 30,000, then dropped to a few thousand a year in the 1980s. The large majority of emigrating Russian Jews went to Isreal. Today there are less than one million persons in the U.S. who are Russian-born or have Russian-born parents or grandparents.


One quarter of second gen children at risk of losing parents by deportation

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

The American Immigration Council reports:

“Since fiscal year 2010, over a quarter million parents of minors who are American citizens have been deported. These numbers…. likely do not reflect all of families that have been torn apart. ICE’s reports only include those who volunteer information about their children; many may not disclose this fact, fearing for the safety and future of their children.”

An estimated six million U.S. citizen children live with at least one family member who is undocumented. This is  8% of all children in the U.S. Using Pew Research figures, this means that one quarter of the current second generation immigrant population under 18 (27 million) has at least one unauthorized parent.

(For second generation figures see appendix 1 here)


Australia: immigrant nation

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Australian residents have double the foreign born population than the U.S. in terms of percentage of total population and their foreign-born population is growing much faster than ours.

The Australian population, per its government report issued on June 27, grew 8.8% between 2011 and 2016 to 23.7 million. Compare that to the 3.8% U.S. population growth in the same period. Had U.S. grown as fast as Australia since 2011, we would have today 15 million more people and 10 million more workers.

1.3 million new migrants arrived in Australia since 2011, with China (191,000) and India (163,000) being the most common countries of birth. That is equivalent to about 75% of growth in population. Compare that with the growth of the foreign-born population in the U.S. of about one million a year, equivalent to 40% of the growth of the total U.S. population since 2011.

A quarter of Australian residents are foreign born, compared to 13% of the U.S. population. For the first time in its history, the majority of foreign-born persons Australia are from Asia, not Europe. Today, Mexican and other Latin American born immigration are probably half of our immigrant population while Asians comprise about 28%. But recent Asian immigrants outnumber Latin American immigrants.

New Brain Gain for the U.S.

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

The world is better educated, education is more international, and we are receiving the results without any change in official immigration policy. The politics of immigration today is largely unaware of these trends.

In New Brain Gain from the Migration Policy Institute, facts are presented.

The share of recent immigrants who have college degrees has been higher than the share of native-born Americans with college degrees since at least 1990, is not before. Since 2010, close to half of recent immigrants had graduated from college before arriving – 86% of Indians, one quarter of Latin Americans, and about 65% of Europeans. In contrast, about 30% of native-born Americans have college degrees.

The rise in college education among immigrants is mostly attributable to the increase in Asian immigration and the rise in the educational level of Latin American immigrants.

In about half the American states, recent immigrants are over 50% college educated and in six states (NH, MI, DE, DC, IA and VT) over 60% college educated. California, the most populous immigrant state, shows 50% of recent immigrants as college educated. A large state with a political leadership that tends to be restrictive in preferred policy is Texas. Its native-born population is 30% college educated; the total immigrant population is about 23% college educated, and about 45% of recent immigrants are college educated.

Still, most recent arrivals are not proficient in English. The share of recent immigrants who were English proficient was 34% in 2000 and in 2015 43%.  Between these years, unauthorized immigration from Mexico largely dried up and Asian immigration rose; also international student enrollment rose steeply.

The Migration Policy Institute includes all foreign person visas, including temporary work and student visas. Education is rising around the world, most notably re: American immigration among Latin Americans. Student visa volume has risen by a lot, and college enrollment has turned into an important immigrant channel for college-educated foreigners. This has happened even while the total share of global international students has declined from 23% in 2000 to 19% in 2013.

In sum, the world is better educated, education is more international and we are receiving the results.