Immigration and Labor Markets in the United States

  • Frank D. Bean
  • Susan Gonzalez-Baker
  • Randy Capps
Part of the Plenum Studies in Work and Industry book series (SSWI)

Abstract

This chapter presents an overview of theory and research about interrelationships between international migration and labor markets, focusing on the case of the United States.1 In recent years, the United States has received more immigrants than any other country in the world. Legal immigration has averaged over 1 million persons per year during the 1990s, with levels of unauthorized migration adding an estimated 250,000–300,000 net persons per year to this figure (Bean et al. 1999; U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service 1997). In absolute numbers, U.S. immigration totals are as large as they have ever been, although the percentage of the population that is foreign-born is not currently as high as previously, during earlier periods of substantial immigration (Bean et al. 1997; Fix and Passel 1994). Such statistics imply important interdependencies between immigration and labor market dynamics. Even more compellingly the fact that recent immigrants are just as likely as natives to have graduated from college but at the same time are much less likely to have completed high school suggests that immigrants and natives are likely to play different labor market roles. If the foreign and native-born populations were similar in their backgrounds and human capital characteristics, there would be less reason to think that increasing numbers of immigrants might exert substantial effects (either positive or negative) on labor markets beyond, perhaps, the effect of increasing the size of those markets (Smith and Edmonston 1997).

Keywords

Migration Europe Income Assimilation Social Stratification 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank D. Bean
    • 1
  • Susan Gonzalez-Baker
    • 2
  • Randy Capps
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of California—IrvineIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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