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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

why are price ceiling and price floor said to be efficient?
Mariateretia Reply
they are called inefficient, price floor or a price ceiling will prevent a market from adjusting to its equilibrium price and quantity, thus creating an inefficient outcome.
please how did we get fixed cost, marginal and average cost. thanks
Onovo Reply
can any one help me solve pie chart, bar chart and histogram. thanks
any answers please, thank you
solution on average cost and marginal cost
p= -10+0.05p
Create the supply curve
plz help..
are u sure that it is p? it should have two variables. Qd should be there too
if you have two variable, put different values of p to get q and you will have coordinates that u can use to make the supply curve.
Fixed cost remain constant,when we r going to gain marginal cost so we should increase in additional unit/variables to get marginal cost with the increase in mc then we easily get average cost
Answer the below question to best of your ability by employing the tax concept and supply and demand Suppose the supply of tobacco is elastic and the demand for tobacco is inelastic. If an excise tax is levied on the suppliers of tobacco, will the incidence fall mostly on consumers or mostly on pro
Carolyn Reply
first you suppose the demand for tobacco is elastic that means if price change more change would occur in demand and second you suppose tax has been lived on suppliers that means the price of tobacco will rise up and it's demand will decline that means consumer will start consuming less
what is perfect competition
Masciline Reply
perfect competition is the form of market where sellers are selling homogeneous product to buyers homogeneous product means a product which is same colour ,same brand and same cost has been used .
Werku Reply
What Is opportunity cost and give examples fot it?
Opportunity cost means profit of what you have give up in order to choose something else
example of opportunity cost . we take example of land.As land have alternative uses it can be use for production , for building factories on it or for construction of house . suppose you are the owner of land and you build house on it that means you give up the benefit which you may get in produ
the benefit which you didn't get in production or in building factories is called opportunity cost
opportunity cost is the cost of what you give up to get something. example: if u wanna buy an apple and a mango and end up buying only a mango. your opportunity cost is the cost of the Apple the you've given up
define marginal rate of substitution
Roshan Reply
marginal rate of substitution
The rate at which one product can be substituted for another is called MRS.
how much additional units of a product under consideration is required to deliver the same level of satisfaction that one derives from an additional unit of a given product.
Simply untill the satisfaction one icreased another decreased also depends upon the satisfaction power of a commodity
Why indifference curve does not intersect x axis and y axis
If the two products are perfect substitutes it will touch both axis. In your question, it is assumed that these are not perfect substitutes. If it touches any axis, it shows that with the given quantity of one product alone gives the same level of satisfaction.
the intersection at the axis would mean that the product is perfectly substitutable and hence the indifference analysis is non-existent.
what industry monopolies belongs
Gwayi Reply
what are the causes of shift in demand curve to the right
Gideon Reply
what industry monopolies belongs
Compare and contrast four Organizations that face elastic demand,inelastic demand,unitary elasticity of demand and perfectly elastic demand.
Puseletso Reply
firms in an oligopoly can act like a monopoly when they form a cartel,which can be based on agreement or rather a court order,hence this leads to increasing barriers to entry for other firms
Jacob Reply
economic inefficiency
alino Reply
what courses the curve to move
Siphelele Reply
is it possible to say scarcity is the out come of excessive greed on the part of human?
Kwame Reply
TU=3Q2-2Q+4.what is Total utlity maximize?
Lema Reply
what is demand
Brenda Reply
Total utlity=3Q2-2Q+4.what is maximum TU?
with excues,can i help you this question?

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Source:  OpenStax, Microeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11627/1.10
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