Report

Getting Ahead or Losing Ground

Economic Mobility in America

 

Immigration: Wages, Education and Mobility

The idea of economic mobility in America often evokes a personal story about mobility and the American Dream. For many Americans, it is one of immigrant parents or grandparents or even one's own journey and arrival. In recent decades, immigration has been rising steadily, with nearly one million legal immigrants entering the country per year throughout the 1990s and in the early years of this century, compared to only about 300,000 per year in the 1960s.

In addition to legal immigrants, it is estimated that about 500,000 illegal immigrants now arrive each year. These numbers clearly show that the allure of the American Dream is alive and well. But is it actually working for today's immigrants? How has immigrant economic mobility changed over time? And is immigrant economic mobility similar to that of U.S. citizens?

This report explains that the American engine of economic assimilation continues to be a powerful force, but the engine is incorporating a fundamentally different and larger pool of immigrants than it did in earlier generations. The shifting educational and economic profile of today's immigrants is provoking difficult and important questions about the ability of immigrants to achieve the American Dream.

Supporting Assets

Figure 1: Annual Number of Legal U.S. Immigrants by Decade and Region of Origin, 1960-2005
Figure 2: Educational Attainment of First Generation Immigrants 25 Years and Over, by Year of Entry
Figure 3: Educational Attainment of First Generation Immigrants 25 Years and Over by Country of Origin, 2004
Figure 4: Educational Attainment for First and Second Generation Immigrants and Non-Immigrants, 25 Years and Over, 2004
Figure 5: First Generation Age-Adjusted Wages Relative to Wages of Non-Immigrants, 1940, 1970, 2000
Figure 6: Second Generation Age-Adjusted Wages Relative to Wages of Non-Immigrants, 1940, 1970, 2000
Figure 7: First and Second Generation Age-Adjusted Wages Relative to Wages of Non-Immigrants

Download the complete Immigration: Wages, Education and Mobility Report here.

Download the complete Immigration: Wages, Education and Mobility Executive Summary here.

 

Related RESEARCH & ANALYSIS

PCS.PRODUCTION.1.20140221.1210 (PEWSUWVMWAPP01)