Births by undocumented mothers decline

From Pew Research:

About 275,000 babies were born to unauthorized-immigrant parents in 2014, or about 7% of the 4 million births in the U.S. that year, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on government data. This represented a decline from 330,000 in 2009, at the end of the Great Recession.

Births to unauthorized immigrants accounted for about one-in-three births (32%) to foreign-born mothers in the U.S. in 2014, according to the estimates.

The decrease in births to unauthorized immigrants from 2009 to 2014 contrasts with the trend for the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population overall, which has stabilized. The number of births and the total population both generally rose through the 1990s and 2000s, peaked in 2006 (births) or 2007 (population), and then declined as the recession of 2007-2009 lingered.

Foreign-born workers, from HS drop-outs to CEOs

Here is a profile of foreign worker employment in America, from high school drop outs to chief executives, using 2010-11 American Community Survey data:

For the 100 largest occupations (two-thirds of American civilian employment), about 15% are foreign born workers.

41% of these foreign-born workers hold jobs not requiring a high school diploma. The largest foreign-born workforces in this category are maids and housecleaners, cooks, janitors and building cleaners, and cashier. These non high school grads earn 23% of all foreign-born worker income in the top 100 jobs.

37% hold jobs requiring a high school degree or a certificate in addition to a high school degree. The most popular jobs are first line retail supervisors, production workers, assemblers, carpenters, health aides, and secretaries and administrative assistants. They earn 33% of all foreign-born worker income.

Jobs for four-year college graduates make up 18% of the foreign-born workforce and account for 34% of foreign worker income. The largest work forces are nursing, accounting, elementary and middle school teaching, and software developers.

Jobs for advanced degree holders account for 3% of the foreign born workforce and 11% of the foreign-born worker income. This workforce is largely made up by medical doctors, other highly trained medical personnel, and college teachers.

High income foreign workers are concentrated in three classes of occupations:

Computer-related jobs account for 3% of foreign workers in the top 100 jobs, and 7% of foreign worker income. Foreign works make up 25% of the 2.5 million computer-related workers.

Healthcare-related jobs, ranging from personal care aides to doctors, account for 9% of foreign workers in the top 100 jobs, and 14% of foreign worker income. Foreign workers make up 19% of the 10 million workers.  A quarter of a million foreign-born doctors, more than a quarter of all practicing physicians, account for 6% of total foreign born worker income in the top 100 jobs.

Averaging $170,000 in income, chief executives account for one tenth of one percent of foreign workers for the top 100 jobs but 3% of their income.

Education         % of workers          % of income
Less than HS              41%                         23%
HS                             37%                          33%
BA                             18%                          34%
Higher degree             3%                          11%

Gradations of farm workers by national origin and ethnicity

The National Agricultural Workers Survey for 2008–2012 was used to compare characteristics associated with adverse health and safety conditions among US-born and Mexican and Central American-born Latino and Indigenous, documented and undocumented farmworkers, separately for males and females. US-born farmworkers had more secure work, worked less onerous tasks, and earned more per hour than other categories of farmworkers. Undocumented Indigenous workers had more precarious work, worked more onerous tasks, and were more likely to do piece work, than undocumented Latino workers.

In 2012, of 1,063,000 hired farmworkers, 563,000 (53%) were in year round positions,199,000 (19%) were in part-year positions (seasonal), and an estimated 288,000 (27%) were brought to farms by contractors. The majority (78%) of hired farmworkers in the United States were born outside of the United States, principally Mexico.

Of those surveyed, 81% were male, 78% were born in either Mexico or Central America and 51% were working in the United States without legal authorization. Indigenous workers comprise 9% and of those 74% were undocumented. Of all foreign-born workers 92% were born in Mexico and six percent in Central America. Of US-born workers more than 80% reported US ancestry and 15% reported Mexican ancestry.

In general, male US-born farmworkers did semi-skilled tasks and field work in field crops in the Midwest, Southeast and East, and were employed year round. Documented Latino’s did semi-skilled tasks and field work in fruit and nut crops in California and were more likely to be employed seasonally and to have worked for their employer longer than US-born males. Fewer undocumented Latino males and Indigenous males did semi-skilled tasks and undocumented workers worked fewer years for their current employer than US-born males. Documented Latino’s tended to work more hours per week than other workers.

US-born farmworkers were more likely to be paid a salary compared with the other groups and undocumented Latino and Indigenous workers were less likely to receive an employer bonus, and more likely to have a family income below the poverty level compared with US-born workers. If paid by the hour, undocumented workers earned less per hour than their US-born counterparts. This association remained for undocumented workers after adjusting for number of years of farm work, number of years worked for current employer, English speaking and reading ability, region, crop, task, and work type.

On several measures, particularly earnings and access to injury compensation and health insurance, undocumented Indigenous workers fared worse than undocumented Latino workers. In addition, undocumented Indigenous workers had more precarious work, worked more onerous tasks, and were more likely to do piece work, than undocumented Latino workers.

We found a gradient in health insurance ownership that was highest among US-born workers, middling amongst Latino documented workers, and lowest among undocumented Indigenous workers. Likewise ,knowledge of and access to workers’ compensation was lower among undocumented workers. Other research has shown that undocumented farmworkers in California were less likely to have health insurance or receive workers compensation or to have knowledge of worker’s compensation than were documented workers

Source: Alison Reid, PhD and Marc B. Schenker, MPH. Hired Farmworkers in the US: Demographics, Work Organisation, and Services. Am J Ind Med. 2016 Aug;59(8):644-55. Also, Martin P. 2014. Farm Labor and Immigration: Outlook for 2015.University of California.McCurdy SA, Samuels SJ, Carroll DJ, Beaumont JJ, Morrin LA. 2003.Agricultural injury in California migrant Hispanic farm workers. Am J Ind Med 44(3):225–235.

The global flow of top talent today

It’s highly concentrated in terms of destination, makes a big impact at the destinations (such as Silicon Valley) and has a large circular component. From the study published in October 2016:

The global distribution of talent is highly skewed and the resources available to countries to develop and utilize their best and brightest vary substantially. The migration of skilled workers across countries tilts the deck even further. ….

We begin by sketching the landscape of global talent mobility. The number of migrants with a tertiary degree rose nearly 130 percent from 1990 to 2010, while low skilled (primary educated) migrants increased by only 40 percent during that time. A pattern is emerging in which these high-skilled migrants are departing from a broader range of countries and heading to a narrower range of countries—in particular, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. The globalization of economic ties is also leading to a rise in shorter-term and circular migration patterns for skilled labor; for example, global companies often insist that their rising executives live and work in other countries for a meaningful portion of their careers. We also give examples showing how global migration may be most pronounced for those at the very outer tail of the talent distribution and that female high-skilled migration outnumbered males in 2010.

Even among OECD destinations, the distribution of talent remains skewed. Four Anglo-Saxon countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia—constitute the destination for nearly 70 percent of high-skilled migrants (to the OECD) in 2010. The United States alone has historically hosted close to half of all high-skilled migrants to the OECD and one-third of high-skilled migrants worldwide. In 2010, the United States hosted 11.4 million skilled migrants, 41 percent of the OECD total.

For recipient countries, high-skilled immigration is often linked to clusters of technology and knowledge production that are certainly important for local economies and are plausibly important at the national level. More than half of the high-skilled technology workers and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are foreign-born. For native workers, high-skilled immigration means both greater competition for certain jobs, but also a chance to benefit from the complementarities and agglomeration effects created by talent clusters. For sending countries, the loss of high-skilled workers raises concerns over “brain drain.”On the positive side, high-skilled emigrants can create badly needed connections to global sources of knowledge, capital, and goods—and some will eventually return home with higher social and human capital levels.


Sari Pekkala Kerr, William Kerr, Çaǧlar Özden and Christopher Parsons. Global Talent Flows, Working Paper 22715. NBER, October 2016