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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Analyze historical patterns of immigration
  • Explain economic effects of immigration
  • Evaluate notable proposals for immigration reform

Most Americans would be outraged if a law prevented them from moving to another city or another state. However, when the conversation turns to crossing national borders and are about other people arriving in the United States, laws preventing such movement often seem more reasonable. Some of the tensions over immigration stem from worries over how it might affect a country’s culture, including differences in language, and patterns of family, authority, or gender relationships. Economics does not have much to say about such cultural issues. Some of the worries about immigration do, however, have to do with its effects on wages and income levels, and how it affects government taxes and spending. On those topics, economists have insights and research to offer.

Historical patterns of immigration

Supporters and opponents of immigration look at the same data and see different patterns. Those who express concern about immigration levels to the United States point to graphics like [link] which shows total inflows of immigrants decade by decade through the twentieth century. Clearly, the level of immigration has been high and rising in recent years, reaching and exceeding the towering levels of the early twentieth century. However, those who are less worried about immigration point out that the high immigration levels of the early twentieth century happened when total population was much lower. Since the U.S. population roughly tripled during the twentieth century, the seemingly high levels in immigration in the 1990s and 2000s look relatively smaller when they are divided by the population.

Immigration since 1900

The graph shows that number of immigrants between 1900 and 1909 was (in thousands) 8,202. In between 1910 and 1919 the number was 6,347. Between 1920 and 1929, the number was 4,296. Between 1930 and 1939, the number was 699. Between 1940 and 1949, the number was 857. Between 1950 and 1959, the number was 2,499. Between 1960 and 1969, the number was 3,213. Between 1970 and 1979, the number was 4,248. Between 1980 and 1989, the number was 6,248. Between 1990 and 1999, the number was 9,775. Between 2000 and 2008, the number was 10,126.
The number of immigrants in each decade declined between 1900 and the 1940s, but has risen sharply in recent decades. (Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 , Table 1)

Where have the immigrants come from? Immigrants from Europe were more than 90% of the total in the first decade of the twentieth century, but less than 20% of the total by the end of the century. By the 2000s, about half of U.S. immigration came from the rest of the Americas, especially Mexico, and about a quarter came from various countries in Asia.

Economic effects of immigration

A surge of immigration can affect the economy in a number of different ways. In this section, we will consider how immigrants might benefit the rest of the economy, how they might affect wage levels, and how they might affect government spending at the federal and local level.

To understand the economic consequences of immigration, consider the following scenario. Imagine that the immigrants entering the United States matched the existing U.S. population in age range, education, skill levels, family size, occupations, and so on. How would immigration of this type affect the rest of the U.S. economy? Immigrants themselves would be much better off, because their standard of living would be higher in the United States. Immigrants would contribute to both increased production and increased consumption. Given enough time for adjustment, the range of jobs performed, income earned, taxes paid, and public services needed would not be much affected by this kind of immigration. It would be as if the population simply increased a little.

Questions & Answers

what are free good
Maillot Reply
how do you determine price change
Matri Reply
what is economics?
Yaya Reply
what is economic
Nana Reply
Economics is the study of how Individual consumer, institution and society as a whole uses its available finite resources to satisfy infinite needs and wants
Richard
Explain the following concepts using suitable exemple. 1) National budget. 2) National debt
Rosalie
what is international trade
BOBO Reply
other things remain constant.
Esale Reply
explain scarcity
Richard Reply
scarcity occurs when there are not enough resources to satisfy human's needs and wants therefore we need to allocate our resources using the price mechanism.
Isha
scarcity is when there is inadequate resources to catch the unlimited wants which would compel individual to make choice.
Prince
scarcity simply means when there's a shortages of resources to satisfy Hunan's need and wants in a particular time, which means the demand for it at the moment is higher than the supply
Abu
scarcity simply means when there's a shortages of resources to satisfy humans need and wants in a particular time, which means the demand for it at the moment is higher than it supply.
Abu
😂😂😂
Isha
That escalated real quick😂
Isha
scarcity is sometimes considered as the basic problems of economics resources r scarce because we live in a world of humans in which wants are infinite but the land labor and capital r required to satisfy those wants are limited
Nkwenti
scarcity means unlimited resources
Rena
resources are limited but human wants can not be limited
Himanshu
joint or complementary demand
Ryt Reply
what is demand
Qudus Reply
it maybe define as the amount or quantity of goods and services which a consumer is willing to buy with the ability to pay at a given price at a particular time
Habib
yesoo thanks dear
Gyamfua
Explain 3 reasons why the manufacturer may decide to sell directly to the consumers
Rosalie
why is economics a science
Isaac Reply
Because science is all about thinking by making models whether a computational or Mathematical. Economics is a social sciences because it effects society but to understand Economics we use maths so it is a Science
Amit
hi
Mony
hello
Amit
I hope.......Economic is social science because it makes new new currency of money,it is decided the country’s depend system and the system be repeated others benefits in our ...
Anik
yeah
Habib
so what is the disadvantages of mix economic system
Habib
Economics is regarded as a social science because it uses scientific methods to build theories that can help explain the behaviour of individuals, groups and organisations.
Ali
The question is: why is Economic a "science" and not why is economics a "social science?" Alright folks?
Xavier
In my own understanding of why economics is a science it bcz it deals mainly on human resources just like biology that deals in the human body why economics is science it also deals on the management of human resources all over the world bcz without economics there will be no human resources
Ogbonnaya
what is technology
Nkwenti
my response to the earlier question is, economics is a science but not a pure science like biology, chemistry and physics. The reason is that those pure science study inanimate object while economics study human being, their experiment are predictable.
raimi
Economics is a social science subject that shows the relationship between ends and scarce means with their alternative uses
Ajenifuja
what is Equilibrium?
Fatima Reply
it means equal price and equal quality
Arthur
thank u Arthur!
Fatima
😇🙏
Fatima
Thanks
Moses
Equilibrium is a state of balance in an economy. In as far as market forces are reasonably concerned, equilibrium means the state at which the quantity of goods supplied is equal to the quantity of goods demanded.
Xavier
what is labour
Ayham
labor can be define as a both physical and mental effort of man put forward towards production
Habib
name the types of demand and explain any two
ALIMAMYISLA
Joint demand Composite demand Competitive demand
Ajenifuja
Labourcan be defined as man mental and physical exertion
Ajenifuja
equilibrium is a state of balance especially between opposing forces or influences
Nkwenti
equilibrium means the state of point in which a person is satisfied and after that point if that person consumes more than the satisfaction level will decrease.
Himanshu
Equilibrium is a state of balance in and economy. that mean equal privé and equal quality e.t.c.
Rosalie
Equilibrium is a situation in which economic forces such as supply and demand balance and in the absence of extremal lnfiuences the values of economic variables will not change.
Gyamfua
what is elasticity
Motseoa Reply
difference between demand and supply
Adeyemi Reply
Demand- It is the desire of a buyer and his ability to pay for a particular commodity at a specific price. Supply- It is quantity of a commodity which is made available by the producers to its consumers at certain price.
Ali
yes OK thank you dear
Gyamfua
Demand can be defined as the ability a buyer is willing and able to pay at a specific price and in agiven period of time Supply can be defined as the ability the producer is willing to supply with a specific price
Ajenifuja
thanks
antony
what is labor force
Habib
demand represents the consumer while supply represents the firm
Nkwenti
restriction on international trade
Ayim Reply
formula for price elasticity of demand
Lognyuu Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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