Re: Poverty's Roots - One of them is high immigration rates

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From: Dave Long (
Date: Fri Oct 27 2000 - 12:27:12 PDT

> Mysteriously, neither mentioned immigration,

Probably because immigration isn't a large factor.
By Mr Brimelow's numbers:

> Because this new influx is relatively unskilled, the poverty rate is
> significantly higher for immigrants than for the native-born (18% versus
> 12.1%). As the pie chart shows, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make
> up 26% of the 35 million U.S. poor; this group makes up only 20.5% of the
> U.S. population.

(I'm curious what definition of "poor" was used, along with how
the series looks for immigrant's children or 3rd generation
natives, etc. Anyway, we can use the numbers regardless.)

So, we have:
        (.26*35) ~= 9 (poor, immigrant)
        (.74*35) ~= 26 (poor, native)
        (.20*275) ~= 55 - 9 = 46 (rich, immigrant)
        (.80*275) ~= 220 - 26 = 194 (rich, native)

And the probably that one is poor given that one is an immigrant
is (9/55) = 16%, compared to the probability that one is poor
given that one is at least a 2nd generation native, (26/220) = 12%.

Sure, there's a difference of 4% points, but that seems minor
compared with other differences. Using the 1993 census household
wealth data, and defining nonpositive net worth as "poor" (which
gives us an overall poverty rate of 12%, roughly similar to the
numbers above), we find:

p(poor|young) = 18% <45
p(poor|old) = 6% 45+

p(poor|black) = 27%
p(poor|white) = 10%

which are threefold differences, instead of merely an additional

> article). But the fact remains that, through public policy, the U.S. is
> importing poverty.

Whether through policy or default, most US poverty seems to be of
domestic origin.


(I'd view the numbers in the article as supporting a pro-immigration
case: within two generations, immigrant families approach the poverty
distribution of the country as a whole.)

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