Texas-sized migration

Texas has been growing a lot in population. Much of this is due to foreign-born persons. Their move to the state accounted for 35% of the net in-migration into the state between 2010 and 2016. (Immigrants make up 13% of the national population.)

But immigrants already in the state added to the natural increase. In 2019, foreign born mothers accounted for 31% of births. And 35% of children under the age of 18 had at least one foreign-born mother. (Go here.)


Texas has (after California) the second largest Indian-American population among states. They account for over 6% of the population in two Congressional districts (3 and 22). SAAVTEX is trying to boost Indian- American voter turnout.

Human Trafficking

Migration, both internal and to another country, legally and otherwise,is a key vulnerability for human trafficking because migrants so often fall outside of the full legal protections of their countries of origin, countries of transit, and countries of destination. Those victimized by human traffickers in the United States are disproportionately from Latin America – most frequently from Mexico. (From Polaris

The United Nations keeps track of human trafficking. Only about 25,000 cases are formally reported worldwide, a figure greatly influenced by government law enforcement practices. There is much intra-state and neighboring country trafficking. For instance, most of the cases identified by law enforcement in Africa involved activity in sub-Saharan Africa, not transport to other continents.

There are large variations in trafficking experience, the data influenced by variations in law enforcement and reporting practices. Abduction of women and girls for sexual slavery has been reported in many conflicts in Central and West Africa, as well as in the conflicts in the Middle East. It has also been reported that women and girls are trafficked for forced marriage in the same areas.

Recruitment of children for use as armed combatants is widely documented in many of the conflict areas considered: from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Central African Republic, as well as in conflicts in the Middle East and other parts of Asia. Armed groups recruit children for exploitation in forced labour in various supportive roles, from logistics to catering. Recruitment and exploitation of children in extractive industries have been reported conflicts in sub- Saharan Africa, in some cases for the purpose of financing the activities of armed groups.

Within conflict zones, armed groups may make use of trafficking as a strategy to assert territorial dominance. They can spread fear of being trafficked among groups in the territories where they operate to keep the local population under control. They may also use women and girls as ‘sex slaves’ or force them into marriages to appeal to new potential male recruits.

See the U.N. Protocols 

Asian Americans have almost doubled since 2000

Pew Research says that between 2000 and 2019, Asian American numbers grew by 81%, outpacing a 70% increase among Hispanics. The Black population grew by 20% during this span, while there was virtually no change in the White population. Green cards awarded annually to Asians roughly doubled since 2000 while remaining roughly steady for people from the Americas.

Today the Asian population is about 23.2 million, or 7% of the population, up from 1.5% in 1980. It will be 46 million in 2060, or 11%.

Put another way, Asian Americans were equivalent to 53% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. in 1985, will be 67% in 2025, and will be 123% in 2065.


The American Basin of foreign labor

I looked at how ten Latin American and Caribbean countries are economically dependent on their citizens who live outside their countries. (See the list at the end, below). For the most part, the great majority of their expatriate citizens are in the United States.

Let’s call these ten countries the American Basin of foreign labor. Since 1960, they make up 20 million or 45% of all immigrants today. They include 4 of the top 10 countries of origin of American immigration since 1960.

The American Basin has a blended average per capita income of $17,000. 21% of the citizens live outside their country. Remittances back to the Basin counties are equivalent to 8% of Gross National Product.

A few of these countries are very little dependent on expatriate labor. Notable is Costa Rica, with per capita income of $20,000, less than 3% of its population outside, and with extremely low remittances as percentage of GDP (0.5%). Costa Rica has by far the lowest corruption rating of the ten countries.

The extreme opposite is Haiti. Its per capita income is $3000, 14% of its citizens live outside, and remittances are 18% of GDP. The following countries have remittances > 19% of GDP: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Jamaica

The ten countries: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. Cuba is not included because it is missing from some key databases.

Data sources: 


GDP per capita

Also, detailed analysis of global and regional trends are available in the Migration and Development Brief 34 at www.knomad.org 

A Mexican foreign minister reflects on the U.S.

Jorge Castaneda, a Mexican who has spent many years in the U.S, as a student, faculty member, and diplomat, has written America Through Foreign Eyes (2020). He writes with sometimes unsettling insight about the United States. He devotes much attention to immigration, in four frames of reference:

The role of early European migration: European migrants killed and drove out Native Americans, imported slaves from Africa, drove out Mexicans. They did not bring over the authoritarian European institutions of class, church and state. These early white European migrants established the first mass middle class in the world. This social/political arrangement, internally democratic for white males and anti-democratic to all others, is the hallmark of America political culture. Voter suppression efforts today hark back to the exclusive democracy of the 18th C. [Castaneda does not use this term, but he is saying that from the first European settlements the U.S. has performed as a gate community.]

The role of immigration in American 20th Century economic prosperity: “American openness to the rest of the world…has made an enormous difference in terms of plowing invention in the profits. It could not flourish without a welcoming attitude toward immigration, without which these inventors would not have ventured far from their shores. Had their products, services, attitudes and experimentation not been well received in the United States, they would not have thrived.” (page 146).

America as the engine of today’s global modern mass culture: “Why have so many foreign cultural talents worked in the United States? …. United States is the first country to produce a mass culture. While over the centuries, European, Latin American, and Asian nations constructed literature, philosophy, art, architecture, and music for the very few, the United States lacked the authoritarian history, centralized religion, and monarchy or institutions that favored elitist culture. Instead, with the emergence of the world’s first middle class society in the earlier early 20th century, cultural products were generated and for these new consumers in the same way as cars, homes, and ice boxes.” (page 59). This feature of American culture continues to attract outstanding cultural talent from around the world.

On immigration of lower skilled workers: America has a long tradition of importing Latino workers to meet the labor demand of employers. American attitudes about immigration mix pragmatism and hypocrisy. We want these workers to keep costs of goods and services low but we also want to say it must be legal. This results in selective immigration law enforcement. [PFR: failure of every administration to impose effective demands on employers to verify employment status is a feature of selective enforcement.] Latinos are a “better fit” in the US than migrants to Europe from Muslim and African counties, in part because their religious practices are more compatible. The real reason for conservative opposition to legalization is that those legalized will bring their families, and two thirds will vote Democratic.

Interesting fact about immigrant impact

Immigrants and their U.S.-born children number approximately 85.7 million people, or 26 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2020 Current Population Survey (CPS), a slight decline from 2019. The Pew Research Center has projected that the immigrant-origin share of the population will rise to about 36 percent by 2065.

From here.

How much wage gain by migrating to the U.S.?

I recently posted about the higher output in scientific research in the U.S. Now let’s look at the wage impact of a less educated worker migrating from a developing country to the U.S. It turns out that the person’s real wage goes up four times, and this is due largely to higher productivity in the U.S.

Researchers estimated the income differences between 42 developing countries and the United States. They focused on males 35–39 years old, with nine to twelve years of education acquired in the their home country. They used the real cost of living gap. (For example, in 2021 you can have the same standard of living in Colombia with 43% of the income in the U.S.; in Nigeria, 36%). They then compared the wage one receives in the home country vs. the U.S. Wages in the U.S. are so much higher that they far make up for the higher cost of living.

The researchers found that these working migrating to the U.S. increase their real earnings by 395% or more.

The real wage gap can be mostly explained by higher productivity of the American workforce. How does higher productivity happen? Through three forces: more technological know-how; efficiency of production involving many factors (such as quality of transportation); and the state of education. (From Productivity Differences Between and Within Countries, by Daron Acemoglu and Melissa Dell, 2010.)

National identity has become more inclusive

Americans have become notably more positive about immigration during the Trump years, according to Pew Research. The share of Americans believing that immigrants want to adopt our customs and ways of life in their countries rose of 54% in 2018 to 65% in 2021.

And, between 2016 and 2020 Americans became much more inclusive. When asked what is very or somewhat important about immigrants, Americans became more inclusive (put less emphasis on) with respect to (A) being born in the U.S., (B) being Christian, (C) sharing our customs and traditions, and (D) speaking English.These more inclusive trends exist in the U.K., Germany, and France. One stand-out exception in the U.S. – Americans are much more inclined to say that Christians are being discriminated against (47% vs. 31% or less in the three other countries). In all countries, self-identified Christians are more likely to say that being Christian is essential to truly being part of their country’s citizenry. But they are also more likely to say other key factors – including speaking the language and being born in the country – are essential components of national belonging.

We are becoming bilingual

In twenty years one third of young adults will have had bilingual experience. In some states like California, 6 of 10 young adults will have come from bilingual households. This does not include young persons who grew up in a solely English household and learned another language. Can you think of other facts that so dramatically show how global our demographics have become?

I found this out through analysis of data on languages spoken at home where there is a child 8 or younger.

One-third (11.2 million) of the nearly 23 million preschool-age children (8 or younger) in the United States live with a parent who speaks a language other than English. These households are demographically very diverse. For 31% of the households, the highest educational attainment of either parent is less than high school. But 41% have graduated from college – reflecting the hourglass profile of immigrants.

Nationwide, the five most common non-English languages nationwide are: A Spanish, B Chinese, C Arabic, D Tagalog and E Vietnamese (F: Other).

A fifth of bilingual household young children nationwide live in California, or 60% of all young children who live in that state. Their parents are much better educated than the national average, with only 8% without a high school degree and 50% with a college degree.

States differ dramatically in the most common non-English languages spoken at time. For example, in California, the distribution of languages is heavily tilted toward Spanish. The top five are A Spanish (67%), B Chinese, C Tagalog, D Vietnamese and E Korean (F: Other). As noted, the affected children are half of the young children in the state.

In Minnesota, the distribution is much more balanced: A Spanish (26%), B Somali, C Hmong, D Arabic, E Russian (F: Other). 22% of young children live in dual language households. 32% of these households have less than a high school education, but 42% have graduated from college.

From The Migration Policy Institute. For data on each state, go here.

The birth rate argument for immigration

Lots of editorials and opinion pieces about how the low birth rate in the United States argues for increasing immigration. Such as:

“According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of births in the United States in 2020 was down 4% from the previous year. This marked the sixth year in a row that births have declined and amounts to the lowest number of births in the country since 1979….The U.S. economy depends on growth of the labor force to generate the tax revenue needed to maintain programs like Social Security. And a key component of labor-force growth is immigration.” (From here.)

About 50% of new immigrants are employed or readily employable. The implicit message is that immigration must shift towards a higher percentage. This is difficult because workers often have families. Also, because temporary work programs, for those with or without a lot of formal education, are hard to manage. Nonetheless, the simple demographic argument for more immigrants is easy to understand.

A piece on birth rate trends since 1960 and how to measure the birth rate is here.