A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS, ONCE AGAIN Charles Hirschman Bixby Visiting Scholar Population Reference Bureau On leave from: University of Washington
IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES • Early 21st century: 34 foreign born • Almost 12 percent of 288 million • Also 30 million 2nd generation; ½ below 21 • Quite different from mid 20th century • When immigrants were older and concentrated • But relative to early 20th or 19th century • Fairly modest • Arrivals/population ratio: only 1/3 of early 20th • Mid 19th c to 1920: majority of large cities were immigrants and their children
OVERVIEW • Causes of the Post 1965 Wave of Immigration • How are immigrants (and their children) doing? • How are American institutions responding?
CAUSES OF IMMIGRATION • 1965 Immigration Act and the end of the National Origins Quotas • Push Factors • Economic/Political Transformations, not enough jobs: Italy and Mexico • U.S. ties/interventions: Philippines, Cuba, VN • Economic investment by migrants • Pull Factors • U.S. economy is dependent on immigrant labor • Agriculture, construction, household services, meatpacking, manufacturing, high tech sector
HOW ARE IMMIGRANTS DOING? • Some move straight to middle class • ½ of all permanent residents are visa adjustments • Many struggle, but are able to save • Remittances greater than all development aid • Second generation are doing remarkably well • Alba and Nee. 2003 Remaking the American Mainstream • David Card. 2004. “Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?” www.iza.org • Kao and Tienda “Immigrant Optimism” • Portes and Rumabut. 2001 Legacies • Segmented assimilation
Response of American Institutions • Labor Market • 1st/2nd gen are more than 1/5 of LF • Mixed evidence; similar to int’l trade • Political Integration • Lower participation, but impt in CA, NY • Potential to tip the balance • Social Institutions • Change race/ethnic dynamics • Moderate welcome