Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Recent trends in the earnings of new immigrants to the United States
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
URL https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/62625/1/612943798.pdf
This paper studies long-term trends in the labor market performance of immigrants in the United
States, using the 1960-2000 PUMS and 1994-2009 CPS. While there was a continuous decline
in the earnings of new immigrants 1960-1990, the trend reversed in the 1990s, with newcomers
doing as well in 2000, relative to natives, as they had 20 years earlier. This improvement in
immigrant performance is not explained by changes in origin-country composition, educational
attainment or state of residence. Changes in labor market conditions, including changes in the
wage structure which could differentially impact recent arrivals, can account for only a small
portion of it. The upturn appears to have been caused in part by a shift in immigration policy
toward high-skill workers matched with jobs, an increase in the earnings of immigrants from
Mexico, and a decline in the earnings of native high school dropouts. However, most of the
increase remains a puzzle. Results from the CPS suggest that, while average entry wages fell
again after 2000, correcting for simple changes in the composition of new immigrants, the
unexplained rise in entry wages has persisted.

Related studies