Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 757–779 | Cite as

Welfare reform and immigrant fertility

  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
  • Susan L. Averett
  • Cynthia A. Bansak
Original Paper

Abstract

Immigration policy is at the forefront of US policy discussions, and the use of welfare benefits by immigrants has been hotly debated. In 1996, Congress enacted welfare reform legislation, which imposed strict restrictions on welfare eligibility for noncitizens. However, a number of states restored access to welfare benefits to immigrants that had been cut out in the federal welfare reform law. Using data from the Current Population Survey, we examine whether immigrant women adjusted their childbearing in response to changes in the generosity of welfare benefits at the state-level. We find that noncitizen women reduced their fertility in response to cutbacks imposed by the legislation. Our findings, which prove robust to a number of identification and robustness checks, underscore how immigrants respond to state-level policies and provide insight into the potential impacts of comprehensive immigration reform, particularly the components related to the path to citizenship and access to public benefits.

Keywords

Welfare reform Immigrants Fertility 

JEL Classification

I38 J13 J15 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
    • 1
  • Susan L. Averett
    • 2
  • Cynthia A. Bansak
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSan Diego State University and IZASan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsLafayette College and IZAEastonUSA
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsSt. Lawrence University and IZACantonUSA

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