The Indicator from Planet Money - How Immigration Is Changing The U.S. Economy

Nearly 17 percent of the U.S. labor force is made up of immigrants. That's up from 12.4 percent in 2000, and 6.7 percent in 1980. What that means for the economy.

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Content Keywords: United States Mexico Mark Uber Lopez

Hey mon, is Cardiff is the indicator from Planet Money? There are almost 45 million immigrants living in the United States right now, that's more immigrants than live in any other country in the world. And here's something about the role of immigrants in the US Labor Market that you might not know if you take all of the people in the US who are working age that people between the ages of 25 and 64 all of the growth in that population of adults over the next decade and a half is expected to come from immigrants and from the first generation children of immigrants. In other words. This huge part of the US Labor Force would be declining if not for immigration. So understanding immigration Trends also helps us to see what the US economy is going to look like in the future didn't show we are speaking with Mark Uber Lopez. He's the director of global migration and demography research at the Pew Research Center and he's going to take us

on a tour of long-term US immigration Trends past present and future

This message comes from NPR sponsor Microsoft teams. Now. There are more ways to be a team with Microsoft teams. Bring everyone together in a virtual room collaborate live on the same page and see if the 49 people on screen learn more at teams Support also comes from fundrise Sunrise makes it easy for anyone to invest in high-quality real estate by building you a portfolio with there more than 1 billion dollars in assets get started at indicator to have your first 90 days of advisory fees waived. Thank you. Great to be here soon. Mark actually want to start with a question about unauthorized immigration to the us cuz I think it's something it's misunderstood by a lot of people don't right now slightly less than a quarter of the immigrants in the US are unauthorized immigrants, but you and your colleagues at Pew research pointed out recently that the number of unauthorized immigrants has actually been falling by a lot.

About 2007 so take our listeners to the fact what is happening with this trend will we reach their Peak population of 12.2 million unauthorized immigrants living in the US in 2007. And that was right before the Great Recession. But once the recession-hit we saw a sharp decline in the number of new arrivals particular from Mexico, which has been a major source of immigrants for many years and that's really been the driver in this decline to wear as of 2017. We estimate that there's 10 and 1/2 million on authorized immigrants living in the US. Most of that decline has come from Mexican immigrants who are less likely to be coming to the u.s. In the past. But we've also seen some changes in the composition of an authorized liver good for example there more from Central America, but also notably more from countries like India as well and that decline in Mexican unauthorized immigrants to the US that's being driven by some economic Trends as well. Right that's right in Mexico has seen some changes.

The decades and you can see for example that of course Mexico has more opportunities particular for those who have education. So there's certainly been a AAA in incentive to stay in Mexico because of changes there but also the United States and its economic situation plays a role in a tracking immigrants in the case of Mexico as a US hit his economic downturn first and how in the housing market then with the Great Recession many Mexican unauthorized immigrants were coming to work in construction, for example, and so Mexican immigration slowed partly because of US economy had a large downturn and another kind of interesting finding a from Q research, which is that over roughly the last decade-plus the makeup of immigration has also changed. The immigrants are coming from different regions of the world than they used to so take us to that Trend as well. What are the big changes at least since the mid-2000s has been that Hispanic immigration or emigration from Latin America has slowed and that's law.

Really been driven by the decline in Mexican immigration, but also many other parts of Latin America, but at the same time we've seen a steady rise in the number of immigrants coming from Asia with India and China being the biggest sources of new arrivals United States in the last decade or so, and it actually both surpassed Mexicans among the new arrivals so that now the biggest source of new immigrants United States these days is actually from Asia with China and India being the biggest sources of those new immigrants. That's a significant change because for 40 years Latin America prickly Mexico was the biggest source of new immigrants to the United State and impact on the world stage Latin America had been the biggest source of new migrants and globally at least since the 1960s but since 2010 or so you really seen other parts of the world rise and the US has seen some of those changes with more people coming from Asia now for example, also noted that there's been a shift in the average educational attainment of immigrants.

More time. So what's happening there? That's right in particularly. You see this from people coming from Asia many of them have a college degree or an advanced degree. But even from Latin American immigrants from countries like Mexico El Salvador Guatemala and Honduras countries, which traditionally have sent immigrants to the US who have a high school degree or less in terms of educational attainment. We've seen over the last 20 years or so a rise in their educational attainment as well the least among those coming to the u.s. And that's notable because of us as a in terms of its immigrant population tends to have people have either a college degree they make up about a third of u.s. Immigrants or have less than a high-school diploma who also make up about a third of the 45 million immigrants live in the u.s. Today and their descendants integrate into society and into the economy over time and specifically you looked at something interesting about intermarriage rates of immigrants in there.

Kids marriage between somebody in an immigrant group with somebody was not in that same group so I can you take her listeners through that. Yes. So one of the things that most interesting is when you take a look at for example, Asian Americans in the United States among those were newlyweds and many of them are immigrants because the majority of the Asian population is foreign-born. You'll find it. For example of 28% of Asian newlyweds. Marry. Somebody is not the Asian among Hispanics also a population with a large immigrants share. You'll find that about 25% of Hispanics who get married. Marry somebody who is not Hispanic. This is interesting because this potentially has implications for how these groups of immigrants and their offspring eventually identify themselves and subsequent Generations. Will I still see themselves as Hispanic or Asian in the future or is something else depending on how people in the future see their identity here in the United States?

When kids are bored of absorbed into the rest of the u.s. Population and their identities become more mixed more kind of amorphous through the generations. That's right. If that's part of the part of the story of the US immigrant experience. It's been us Tori for the last almost 200 years of immigrants arriving in the United States from elsewhere around the world. I think it does remain to be seen what identities people in the future. We will develop depending on their ancestry their back running their awareness frankly of where their families are from interesting ly I think this year's 2020census will give us an opportunity to see how Americans generally see their ancestry. Does America look for the first time be able to tell us on a census whether or not they're Irish or German or whether they're Jamaican or or and as I've always been able to do to tell us whether they're Mexican those wall, give us some indication of how they see their identity today many of them have immigrant Roots three or four generations ago. For example, what are the long-term

Rayshun trends that you're going to be watching and that the rest of us should also be sort of paying attention to as well be seen how immigration Trends will evolve those covid-19. Cuz many countries have closed their borders and migrant flowers are not quite what they were prior to covid-19, but the one part of the world that looks to be poised to be a source of new migrants into the future at least of the rest of the century is Africa. It is a very young population, and it's a population that has started to see many people migrate within Africa and also outside of Africa to places like Europe and United States. It's possible Africa could become the main source of migrants in the future probably because places like Latin America, which used to be an important Source our aging and don't quite have the same use that they used to so we'll see what happens, but it's possible that we may see more migrants coming to the u.s. Places like Africa in the future mark. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Is episode of the indicator was produced by Brittany Cronin? In fact check by Sean Saldana indicators edited by Patty hurricane is a production of NPR.

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