Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

Chinese immigration to the U.S.

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

China in 2018 replaced Mexico as the top sending country. After immigrants from Mexico and India, the Chinese represented the third largest group in the U.S. foreign-born population of nearly 45 million in 2018, with 2.5 million persons.

Chinese immigration in the United States has a long and fraught history. In response to negative public sentiments and organized labor lobbying, Congress in 1882 passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first legislation aimed at excluding certain foreigners based on their origin.

The 1965 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act removed barriers for non-European immigration to the United States and created temporary worker programs for skilled workers. Chinese authorities relaxed emigration controls in 1978, and U.S.-China relations were normalized in 1979, beginning a second wave of Chinese migration to the United States.

China is the main source of foreign students enrolled in U.S. higher education In the 2018-19 school year, close to 377,000 students, or one third of all international students.

Chinese nationals received the second-largest number of employer-sponsored H-1B temporary visas in fiscal year 2018, after Indians. Chinese nationals received nearly half of EB-5 investor green cards in 2018.

The United States is the top destination for Chinese immigrants, accounting for almost 27 percent of the more than 12 million Chinese living outside of China. Other popular destinations include Canada (920,000).

Roughly half of Chinese immigrants reside in just two states: California (32 percent) and New York (19 percent).

From The Migration Policy Institute.

The Hispanic electorate in Nov 2020

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

Since 2000, the greatest racial/ethnic gainers in total eligible voters were Hispanics, from 7.4% to 13.3% of total eligible voters.

From 2004 though 2018, the number of vote-eligible Hispanics rose by 66% even though the entire population of the U.S, grew by only 10%.

A record 32 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote, exceeding the number of black eligible voters for the first time.

However, the turn out rate of Hispanics is relatively low. Since 1990, Hispanic turnout (actual voters / eligible voters) has averaged 15% below that of whites. So, even though Hispanic turnout increased by 40% between the two off-year elections of 2014 and 2018, it still in 2018 was only 40% vs. 56% for whites. In the presidential election in 2016, Hispanic turnout was 48% vs 63% for whites.

Complicating the picture for Democrats in 2020 is that in relatively few swing states there are many Hispanic voters.

For Democrats, Arizona is probably the state most important for high Hispanic turnout because of the relatively high Hispanic population (24% of all eligible voters, per Pew) and the chance to swing the election results from Republican to Democrat.

In five swing districts won narrowly by a Rep in 2018, the Hispanic electorate is at least 15%.


Temporary visa volume has been declining

Monday, January 6th, 2020

Nationals of mainland China, Mexico, and India made up about 43% of all nonimmigrant visas issued by the State Department in FY 2018. That includes for business, tourism, temporary work, and schooling. Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines, Colombia, Israel, Ecuador, and Nigeria round out the top ten.

Note: Citizens of many countries (including Canada, most EU states, Australia and South Korea) can enter the United States for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes through the Visa Waiver Program.


The Migration Policy Institute as a long list of possible explanations for the decline:

The recent decline may be explained in part by the Trump administration’s immigration priorities: a series of executive orders and policies have tightened admission and visa issuance criteria. Among them: additional vetting procedures for certain nonimmigrants seeking to obtain or extend their visa; restricted definitions of certain specialty occupations for temporary workers; a ban on visas for nationals of seven predominantly Muslim-majority countries deemed to represent security threats (often referred to as the “travel ban”); and visa sanctions against countries that fail or refuse to facilitate the return of their nationals ordered deported from the United States. The decline may also owe to a perception that the United States has become a less welcoming place, amid rapid policy change and at-times harsh rhetoric, including by leading government officials, against immigrants.

These changes have also been cited as one of the reasons for the decline in new international student enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities, which dropped for the third year in a row. Other factors include diminished government funding by countries such as Saudi Arabia and Brazil for their citizens to study abroad; changing policies in Australia, Canada, Japan, and China, among others, to increase recruitment of international students; and stepped-up efforts by traditional sending countries such as China, India, and Malaysia to offer higher-quality education at home.

Globalization = mass migration

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

After a holiday break, I am back.

Total global exports in 1980 were about $1 trillion. In 2018 they were $19.4 trillion. In the same period the number of persons living outside their country of birth went from 120 million to over 250 million (see graph).

Globalization links to international migration in several ways. Globalization of work makes more visible the disparities in income for the same work between countries.

An increase in the number of households with disposable income and more formal education increases the ease of migration.

Globalization, and migration, are aided by vast expansion of international air travel and by a huge drop in international communication barriers. International air travel in passengers grew from 640 million in 1980 to 4.2 billion in 2018.

Since 1990, remittance flows increased from $50B a year to over $550B.

It is not clear to me if and how globalization of work and trade leads to violent explosions of migration (Venezuela, Syria, Myanmar).



Venezuelan refugee crisis bigger than the Syrian crisis

Sunday, December 15th, 2019

The situation in Venezuela has resulted in one of the worst humanitarian crises this hemisphere has ever seen. Since 2015, 4.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country, about 16 percent of the population. The figure is strikingly similar to the 4.8 million people that had fled Syria by 2015. There could be as many as 6.5 million Venezuelans living outside of the country by 2020 (based on estimates from the U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR).

Since 2013 the Venezuelan economy has contracted by 65 percent, the largest contraction outside of war in 45 years. The only close comparators are countries in active conflict, such as Liberia, which lost 90 percent of its GDP during its bloody civil war. But the Venezuelan economic collapse, which preceded international sanctions, stands out because it was not triggered by external forces or internal unrest: It was manufactured by those in power, and thus, was totally avoidable.

From Brookings

Increased migration of doctors and medical students

Friday, December 6th, 2019

The past ten years have seen an increase in migration of doctors, as well as medical students. One quarter of practicing physicians in the U.S. are foreign born. Among countries (see table below) that percentage varies greatly. Advanced countries in general are experiencing a doctor shortage – not just the U.S.

The OECD reports that between 2010 and 2016, the proportion of foreign-born doctors across these OECD countries rose by 3% to 27% in 2016. The trend for nurses is similar with the percentage in 2016 at 16%.

Between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of foreign-trained doctors registered to practice medicine in Ireland rose from 13.4% to 33.4%.

Half of all medical students in Ireland are international students, nearly a third in Romania and a quarter in Poland. Many medical schools, such as in Central and Eastern Europe, have programs in English. (Go here.)

Noted medical writer and Atul Gawande’s parents are from India. Here is there background: Atmaram Gawande was born in 1934 to a family of seven brothers and five sisters in the village of Uti, Maharashtra, in western India. After graduating from the Nagpur Medical College in 1962, the elder Gawande moved to New York City to train in general surgery, where he ended up meeting Sushila, a paediatrician who he would go on to marry. Sushila herself had moved to the US from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

In 1973, a few years after Atul and his younger sister Meeta were born, the Gawandes decided to move to Athens, Ohio, a small town that was looking for doctors. In Athens, Gawande senior went on to become a well-known urologist at the O’Bleness Memorial Hospital, serving over 25,000 local patients.

From here.

The farm worker crisis

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

The number of foreign farm workers entering through the temporary H 2A visa program jumped from 77,300 in FY 2011 to 257,700 in FY 2019, a 230% increase. In 2005 there were less than 50,000 visa holders. The five leading job titles were general farm workers, berries, tobacco, fruits and vegetables and apples. Jobs that require year-round employment, such as diary work, are not serviced by this visa.

Agriculture Dept data suggests that 600,000 of the 800,000 crop workers today are either visa holders (about 250,000) or working illegally (about 350,000). Farm workers are hard to count, thus the figures are approximations.

Put this into historical context: in 1950 there were 7.6 million family farm workers and 2.3 million hired workers. In 2000, the number of family workers declined by 75% and hired workers by half.

According to the Agriculture Dept’s official website, “the share of hired crop farmworkers who were not legally authorized to work in the United States grew from roughly 15% in 1989-91” about 50% today. Only a quarter are U.S. born.

Thus the farm workforce has become increasingly dependent on hired (and unauthorized) foreign workers. The average wage of crop workers is about $13 an hour.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019, HR,5038, which on 11/21/19 was approved by an 18-12 vote of the House Judiciary Committee, is intended to normalize substantially all farm unauthorized workers into legal temporary status.

Family medicine doctors — immigrants needed

Sunday, November 10th, 2019


The United States needs more primary care physicians, including family physicians. Projections based on current trends show a deficit of 52,000 primary care physicians by 2025.

There are about 120,000 family medicine doctors in the U.S. Each year about 5,000 newly educated medical doctors enter an accredited family medicine programs.

Since 2009, the overall proportion of US medical students entering family medicine increased from 9.0% to 12.6%. That was largely due to a rise in graduates in osteopathic medicine. However, the number of non-citizens graduating from foreign medical schools rose from 2000 to 2009, then appears to have declined. They constituted 10% of new family medicine entrants in 2000, 21% in 2009, then dropped to 8% in 2017.

It is unclear if any future increase in the total number of new family medicine doctors can happen without foreign graduates returning to higher numbers.

From here.


The Virginia elections and the rise of the educated naturalized immigrant

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

The Democratic sweep in this Tuesday’s elections in Virginia invites a look at immigration trends in the state and the possible impact of voting by naturalized citizens. Well-educated foreign-born, naturalized adult citizens have likely grown from perhaps 4% of eligible voters in 2000 to 8% in 2017. This is due to many more foreign-born adults, their higher education profile, and to naturalization trends.

Surge in foreign-born adults: foreign-born persons age 25 + rose from 6.4% of all persons 25 + in 1990, to 10.6% in 2000, to 18.6% in 2017. In absolute numbers, the foreign-born pop 25 + doubled 2000 – 2017 while the U.S. born population grew by 16%.

An increasing share of immigrants have naturalized and are eligible to vote. I infer that the 18 + population of naturalized citizens rose 250% from around 200K in 2000 to around 500K in 2017, while the vote-eligible U.S. born rose by only around 15%.

Note that the most recent figure is for 2017, i.e. would not reflect any greater proclivity to be naturalized during the Trump administration, as a risk management step.

Foreign-born adults are better educated than U.S. born in a state that is a leader in education. In 2017, 43% of foreign-born Virginians had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 38% of U.S. born adults in Virginia. Virginia is one of the best-educated states in the country).

From here.

How many Americans live in Mexico?

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

What is the American presence in Mexico? A huge problem in coming up with estimates is that we really want to know two flows: U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens who circled back. The U.S. does not spend much time tracking “circular migration.” There may be a million U.S. citizens living in Mexico, and several million Mexicans who have circled back.

So, there are American citizens living there, and also persons who lived in the U.S. with a Green card. And there are unauthorized persons who returned, often it appears with a U.S. born child. There seems to be some agreement that a relatively small number of retirees who retired in Mexico after working in the U.S.

The State Department says 1.5 million American citizens live in Mexico. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 899,000 U.S. born persons living in Mexico. The 2015 Mexican census puts the number of U.S. Citizens in Mexico at 739,000.

The Migration Policy Institute also surmises that very many of the total, whatever it is, includes includes approximately 1 million U.S.-born persons who moved, mainly to Mexico, over the 2010-15 period, and the majority of them were children, mostly it appears of unauthorized Mexicans who had lived in the U.S. and born children there. (10% of the Mexican workforce in about 2005 were in working in the U.S.)

The Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior estimates there could be 430,000 to 600,000 U.S. citizen minors living in Mexico, the great majority of them U.S. born children of Mexican households who had returned from the U.S.

Retirees: Only a very small percentage of American citizens living in Mexico are retirees. Retirement communities in Mexico – 10,000 are estimated to live in San Miquel de Allende, 35,000 in Puerto Vallarta, and 20,000 near Lake Chapala in central Mexico (according to the U.S. Embassy.) Only 58,000 who receive Social Security checks. (this number is not broken dwn between U.S. citizens and Green Card holders.) This number is equivalent to roughly 3% to 6% of American citizens living in Mexico. Compare that with 306,000 U.S. citizens living in Canada, and 111,000 persons receive Soc Sec checks there.