Research on Immigrant Earnings

by Harriet Orcutt Duleep and Daniel J. Dowhan
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 1, 2008

Text description for Chart 1.
Estimates of immigrant earnings based on two methods

This line chart consists of two panels, each presenting hypothetical relationships between immigrants' earnings and years since immigration. The first panel is labeled "Cross-sectional method" and the second panel is labeled "Stationary-earnings-growth method." In both panels the vertical axis is labeled "earnings" and the horizontal axis is labeled "Years in the United States." Because the panels are illustrative, no specific values are given on the earnings axis, and only year zero and year 10 are indicated on the years in the United States axis.

The first panel is annotated "earnings growth based on a single cross section of census data for year t." A straight line connects a point labeled "A" in the lower left of the panel with a point labeled "D" in the upper right of the panel. Point A is defined as "entry earnings of cohort t, measured in year t." Point D is defined as "earnings after 10 years in the United States of cohort t minus 10, measured in year t." The line AD is defined as "estimated earnings trajectory." A point labeled "C" appears directly above point A, slightly above the midpoint of the earnings scale. Point C is defined as "unobserved entry earnings of cohort t minus 10." This panel has no point B.

The second panel is annotated "earnings growth based on two censuses, for year t and year t minus 10." Two parallel lines appear in the panel, rising on the earnings scale as they increase on the years scale. The lower line connects points labeled A and B. The higher line connects points labeled C and D. Point A is defined as "entry earnings of cohort t, measured with census t." Point B appears over the 10-year tick on the "years" axis and is not separately defined. The line AB is defined as "estimated earnings trajectory of cohort t." Point C is defined as "entry earnings of cohort t minus 10, measured with census t minus 10." Point D is defined as "earnings after 10 years in the United States of cohort t minus 10, measured with census t."

Table equivalent for Chart 2. Median 1989 U.S. earnings of men aged 25–54 who immigrated in the years 1985–1990, by country of origin
Country of origin Median earnings ($)
China/Taiwan 8,000
Mexico 8,000
Other Asia 8,400
Islamic S.W. Asia 10,400
Africa 12,000
South America 12,000
Korea 13,000
Phillipines 13,000
India 14,400
Poland 15,000
Portugal 17,000
Yugoslavia 17,000
Oceania 17,500
Czechoslovakia 19,900
Hungary 20,000
Italy 21,920
Ireland 25,000
Germany 25,542
Canada 26,268
Britain 32,000
Japan 40,000
 

Text description for Chart 3.
The relationship between gross domestic product (GDP) per adult and U.S. median initial earnings of immigrant men

This is a scatter-plot graph. The vertical axis is labeled "median earnings" and ranges from zero to $45,000 in increments of $5,000. The horizontal axis is labeled "GDP per adult as percent of U.S. GDP" and ranges from zero to 120 in increments of 20.

The dots are more tightly clustered to the lower left of the chart, and become more dispersed as they rise on both scales. A straight line indicating central tendency connects a point having the approximate coordinates of $9,000 and 5 percent with a point having the approximate coordinates of $30,000 and 100 percent.

Table equivalent for Chart 4. Cohort-specific ratios of foreign-born to native-born 10-year earnings growth rates: Unadjusted and adjusted, by sex, various periods 1960–1983
Period Men Women
Unadjusted Adjusted Unadjusted Adjusted
1960–1964 1.00 1.08 1.03 0.96
1965–1969 1.00 0.94 0.83 0.83
1970–1974 1.31 1.42 1.15 1.04
1975–1979 1.49 1.40 0.74 0.77
1980–1981 2.11 2.09 1.32 1.34
1982–1983 2.84 2.56 1.73 1.66
 
Table equivalent for Chart 5. Ratio of foreign-born to native-born median earnings of men, by years in the United States among recent immigrant cohorts: Unadjusted and adjusted
Years in United States Cohort (year of arrival)
1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992
Unadjusted
1 0.27920 0.44724 0.34232 0.45451 0.26382 0.39765 0.17601 0.38737 0.34297
2 0.46133 0.66461 0.52980 0.58192 0.44032 0.53126 0.44590 0.44393 0.62050
3 0.71104 0.67829 0.56420 0.62221 0.55274 0.57946 0.48744 0.49293 . . .
4 0.66995 0.69535 0.62587 0.58851 0.54695 0.57598 0.52013 . . . . . .
5 0.74549 0.75909 0.58850 0.64831 0.56290 0.59632 . . . . . . . . .
6 0.76782 0.73907 0.62586 0.63450 0.58358 . . . . . . . . . . . .
7 0.87270 0.78097 0.62246 0.67304 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8 0.79076 0.77178 0.69357 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9 0.75526 0.80278 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10 0.80819 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Adjusted
1 0.31887 0.51850 0.42665 0.58331 0.39460 0.51135 0.21297 0.45142 0.34602
2 0.51638 0.74859 0.65981 0.73003 0.60375 0.66222 0.53854 0.50797 0.61534
3 0.77490 0.74993 0.68171 0.74802 0.72964 0.74554 0.58057 0.55837 . . .
4 0.72026 0.75281 0.74569 0.70607 0.73037 0.73670 0.61158 . . . . . .
5 0.78681 0.81522 0.68962 0.77388 0.76673 0.74832 . . . . . . . . .
6 0.79412 0.77747 0.73398 0.75017 0.80991 . . . . . . . . . . . .
7 0.88871 0.82100 0.73153 0.81237 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8 0.80870 0.80461 0.81232 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9 0.76912 0.82033 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10 0.80316 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NOTE: . . . = not applicable.