Californian economy and immigrants

I posted this entry in March 2009. The situation probably has changed little since then. ChatGPT tells me that in 2021, the percentage of the Californian workforce that is foreign-born is around 27%, higher than the national average of around 17%.

The post:

The Immigration Policy Center [link broken] writes that foreign born workers complement, rather than compete, with American – born workers, their net effect is to push general wages up by 4%.

The 2008 purchasing power of California’s Latinos ($249 billion) and Asians ($162.8 billion) is the highest of any state in the nation. Together, Latinos and Asians account for roughly 30% of the state’s total consumer purchasing power. Since 1990, the purchasing power of Latinos in California has increased by 258%, and the purchasing power of Asians by 272%, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.

“During 1990–2004, immigration induced a 4 percent real wage increase for the average native worker,” according to a 2007 study by economist Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis. The reason for wage increases is that “immigrant workers often serve as complements to native workers rather than as their direct competitors for jobs, thereby increasing total economic output. Native workers benefit because they are able to specialize in more productive work.”

A study by demographer Dowell Myers of the University of Southern California found that:

The share of California’s foreign-born Latinos who reported being proficient in English as of 2000 rose from 33.4% of those who had been in the United States for less than 10 years to 73.5% among those who had been here for 30 years or longer. [These proficiency rates have gone up. In 2019, roughly 90% of Latinos 25 years or older were proficient in English.]

The share of immigrants in Los Angeles County who owned their own homes as of 2005-06 rose from 14.8% of those who had come to the United States within the previous 10 years to 63.4% of those who had lived here for more than 30 years—compared to a homeownership rate of 54.2% among the native-born, according to a study by Manuel Pastor and Rhonda Ortiz at the University of Southern California.

The Latino share of California’s population grew from 25.8% in 1990, to 32.4% in 2000, to 36.2% in 2007. [ChatGPT for 2021: 39%]  The Asian share of the population grew from 9.2% in 1990, to 10.9% in 2000, to 12.3% in 2007. [ChatGPT for 2021: 15%].

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