Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

COVID 19’s impact re: international students

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

The pandemic has created a severe crisis for foreign students in the U.S and for their colleges. A talented freshman from New Delhi at Grinnell College (whose parents are now in 21 day lockdown) is a case I personally know of. I personally know a Honduran high school student who is marooned in Texas.

American universities have increasing depended on foreign students to fill their classrooms and coffers. In academic year 2017 – 2018, over a million foreign students studied at American colleges, up from about 600,000 in 2005-2006.

Shutting down American campuses has severely disrupted the lives of these students, and put into question how many students will show up in the Fall of 2020. Several states are dependent on foreign students for at least 8.6% of total enrollment: CA, MA and NY. For most states 5% of college students are foreign. The bulk of the dependent colleges are public.

Several states depend on these students for at least 17% of high ed tuition. CA, IL, MA, MD, NY. The table below distributes the 50 states by their dependence on college tuition income from foreign students. There is no state with less that 5% of tuition paid by foreign students.

Immigration to America in five stories

Friday, March 20th, 2020

My grandfather arrived with little formal education and helped to build the [insert] industry.

Comment: during late 19th C – mid 20th C manufacturing employment grew by using new workers with few skills. Southern blacks were largely excluded from this workforce until the 1940s.

The rise of Silicon Valley was intimately tied to global workforce immigration of skilled engineers and scientists. American medicine has been deeply dependent on trained immigrants.

Einstein and Nobel Prize winners immigrated here.

Comment: this celebrity immigrant story remains current. Relates to perhaps 0.1% of immigrants.

In past 40 years, low skilled workers, many illegal, flooded the U.S.

Comment: Notable politically powerful industries, such as agriculture, textiles, meat processing, Trump resorts, and accounts for much of the geographic spread of low skilled immigrants since about 1980. This explains the continued successful resistance of the business community to mandatory verification of employment status.

Expected increases in demand for unskilled workers — personal aides, growing now at 5% a year — are not associated with politically powerful employers

America needs to meet its responsibilities re: global refugees

Comment: this commitment arose out of major American wars — WW2 and Vietnam. Most global refugees today arise from other circumstances (Syria, Africa, Myanmar) Central American refugees referred to as anti-American by Trump. (His 2020 State of the Union speech: border policies are “restoring the rule of law and reasserting the culture of American freedom.”)

We are a nation of immigrants.

Comment: True yesterday and today.

The Michigan Compact

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020


State and local chambers of commerce in Michigan issued a Michigan Compact on February 27, 2020, relating to the 700,000 foreign born persons in the state.

“As signers of the Michigan Compact on Immigration, we are committed to promoting common-sense immigration reforms that will strengthen our economy, as well as attract talent and business to our state. Talent is the number one challenge facing Michigan employers and we recognize the critical role national immigration policy will play in driving continued economic growth.

We support bipartisan immigration policy reforms that ensure the federal system meets the needs of our employers and labor market, while providing a permanent solution for undocumented residents who make significant contributions to our state and nation’s economy and enforcing our nation’s laws.

Michigan’s immigration policies must reflect and affirm our goal to be the most welcoming, hospitable, and business-friendly state in the nation. Immigration has played a critical role in our history and is fundamental to future growth and prosperity.”

Michigan immigration facts:

3.8% of population were foreign born in. 1990; 7.1% in 2017.

In 2017, among foreign born 53% were white, 31% Asian, 16% Latino. There were more from India than from Mexico/Central America. Also many from “other western Asia” (mainly Iraq). Half of foreign born have been naturalized. Unauthorized population estimated at 110,000, or about 30% of total non-citizen foreign-born (about 350,000).

Data from here. Unauthorized population from here.

Where non-English speaking is dominant

Monday, March 16th, 2020

In Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional district, which includes part of the Bronx and Queens, 68% of adults speak other than English at home. 46% of the population is foreign-born (compared to 13% nationwide).

In 39 U.S. counties, a majority of adult citizens speak any language other than English at home. Most of these counties lie along the southwestern edge of Texas, but the largest of them are Bronx County in New York (1.3 million people with more than 53 percent of adult citizens not speaking English) and Miami-Dade County in Florida (2.5 million people with more than two-thirds of adult citizens not speaking English at home) (from here).

On a state rather than county basis, in three states there are at least 25% of the total population which speaks Spanish at home: Texas (30%), California (29%) and New Mexico (28%). For the U,S. as a whole, 13% of the population speaks Spanish at home.

Germany’s persistent dependence on foreign workers

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

“Among the [German] companies we consulted, 60% currently view the shortage of skilled works as a danger to the development of their businesses. In 2010, only 16% said so,” says a 2019 report on the shortage of workers in Germany.

As the graph shows, the country has been very dependent on foreign workers for the growth in the workforce for some 50 years.

In recent years, about 250,000 workers from other EU countries have been arriving each year. (Not included are workers from outside the EU.) With total employment at 42 million, that is equivalent to the U.S. receiving over 800,000 new workers a year. New workers from immigration in the U.S. today probably are about 600,000 or less. And Germany needs more than a quarter million from outside each year.

The German parliament passed the law on the immigration of skilled workers on 7 June 2019. It enters into force on March 1st 2020 that will bring in only 25,000 skilled workers each year.

From here.

Anti-immigration in early 20th C mainly cultural in nature

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Marco Tabellini of Harvard Business School has studied European immigration to U.S. cities between 1910 and 1930 “I find that immigration triggered hostile political reactions, such as the election of more conservative legislators, higher support for anti-immigration legislation, and lower redistribution. Exploring the causes of natives’ backlash, I [find] that immigration increased natives’ employment, spurred industrial production, and did not generate losses even among natives working in highly exposed sectors. These findings suggest that opposition to immigration was unlikely to have economic roots. Instead, I provide evidence that natives’ political discontent was increasing in the cultural differences between immigrants and natives.

When cultural differences between immigrants and natives are large, opposition to immigration can arise even if immigrants are economically beneficial and do not create economic losers among natives. Hence, promoting the cultural assimilation of immigrants and reducing the (actual or perceived) distance between immigrants and natives may be at least as important as addressing the potential economic effects of immigration.”

Drawn from ‘Gifts of the Immigrants, Woes of the Natives: Lessons from the Age of Mass Migration’ by Marco Tabellini, published in the Review of Economic Studies in January 2020.

Mulvaney confirms labor shortages

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

When acting White House chief of staff Mike Mulvaney said in London on February 19th that America was running out of workers and needed more immigrant workers, he was confirming both the existence of current labor shortages (also found in European countries) and our long term dependence on immigrants to supply a large share of workforce growth.

Long term trends

Male immigrants made up nearly 80 percent of the increase in the nation’s male civilian labor force between 1990 and 2001 while female immigrants contributed 30 percent of the growth in the female labor force over the same time period.

The growth of the workforce continues to depend heavily on Hispanic and Asian workers. The size of the white non-Hispanic labor force will absolutely decline from 2004 to 2024 by 4%.

After 2015 and through 2035, the native-born working age population will decline by 8.1 million, the first generation immigrant workforce will increase by 4.7 million, and the second generation immigrant workforce will increase by 13.6 million.

the state of the current labor shortages

One way to look at the issue is to compare unemployment numbers to job opening numbers. In January 2000. In January 2001 there were 1.1 unemployed persons for every job opening. During the Great Recession that rose to as high as 6.4 in July 2009. Since March 2019 it has been under 1 – fewer unemployed than job openings (in December 2019, 0.9).

Another way to look at this is the labor force participation rate. This rate has over decades been declining for various reasons. But for the 25 to 54 year old set, it has remained fairly stable for 20 years – at 84 in 2000, 81 in 2015 and back up to 83 in January 2000. Most of the gain in the workforce in the past 20 years has been for persons over 55 and that rise leveled off in about 2010.

Innovation in Silicon Valley and immigrant migration

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Researchers have examined how the San Francisco area grew from 5% of US domestic patents in 1975-1984 to over 12% in 1995-2004. They concluded that this growth was associated with the rise of a mobile workforce, specifically immigrants. “Immigrants are very important for U.S. invention, representing 24% and 47% of the US science and engineering (SE) workforce with bachelor and doctorate educations in the 2000 Census of Populations, respectively. This contribution was significantly higher than the 12% share of immigrants in the US working population at the time.

“Using Census records, we show that immigrant SEs are more mobile within the US than their domestic counterparts. Between 1995 and 2000, Immigrants represented 6% of the SE workforce in the 2000 Census but 25% of the net moves. This greater flexibility and growing immigrant contributions result in technology migration [to geographic clusters] being faster across clusters for technologies that depend heavily on immigrant SEs. This effect was particularly strong in the semiconductor industry.”

Research led by William Kerr.


Survey: Why do Central Americans want to migrate?

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

In 2019, Interviewers in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras conducted 2,400 individual in-person surveys to gather data on intentions to migrate, family, the economic situation of the household and exposure to crime, among other points. Based on these surveys and extensive data analysis, interviewers were able to distinguish the different triggers of migration in each municipality, as well as paint a general portrait of potential migrants

Where are potential migrants living? A small number of municipalities, largely urban, account for the bulk of all irregular out-migration from the Northern Triangle. While trends emerge at the national level, the factors that influence one’s decision to migrate vary dramatically by municipality.

Economic reasons are uppermost: Economic factors are the most salient in influencing migration and are cited far more often as the primary motivator for migration than victimization factors.

Youth are most likely to migrate: People from the ages of 18 to 29 report distinct levels of exposure to economic and victimization factors and react to these factors differently than adults in their decisions to migrate.

Victimization exposure: Extortion, robbery and other crimes are, in most cases, an even stronger motivator for migration than exposure to homicide.

Relatives living in U.S.: Nearly two-thirds of all survey respondents have a relative living abroad, 75 percent of those relatives have lived in the U.S. for 10 years or more, and about 25 percent for over 20 yeas. However, only 3 percent of survey respondents citing reuniting with relatives as their primary reason for migration.

Report, Saliendo Adelante, is here.

U.S. population growth

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Population growth is at its lowest since the founding of the United States. The Census Bureau projects that after 2030, immigration will account for more than half of the nation’s population growth.

Brooking’s population expert William Frey writes that “The nation’s population growth from 2018 to 2019 grew by a mere 0.48% This is the lowest annual growth rate since 1918, and caps off a decade that should show the slowest 10-year population growth since the first census was taken in 1790.”

In 2018-2019 natural increase below one million (for a population of over 327 million) and immigration added about 500,000, down from the million-plus levels of past years.

Persons entering the workforce: in 2008, there were 27.2 million persons between 19 and 25. In 2018, there were 28 million of that age, an annual growth rate of 0.25%.