The Economic Integration of Immigrants: A Comparative Analysis of U.S. States
Parlej, Patrick K.
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This paper measures the economic integration of immigrant populations in the United States by comparing incomes of native-born and foreign-born individuals across states in years 2005-2016. Whereas previous research on this topic primarily focused on immigrant economic and demographic traits in national or regional studies, this paper compares aggregate data at the state level that incorporates the economic and demographic characteristics of native-born Americans. To that end, this paper proposes the ‘integration ratio’, an economic metric used to compare earnings between immigrant and native median household incomes. Furthermore, this paper highlights the relative success of southern states, which overperform on measures of economic integration relative to other regions in the United States. Results from OLS model give insights into the conditions under which immigrants most effectively economically integrate, and thereby are of interest to policymakers and newly arrived immigrants seeking circumstances most conducive to immigrant integration.