The Economic Benefit of Immigrants

December 21, 2011

A recent study by Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California-Davis, found that immigration has no effect on poverty rates and in fact has increased employment among native-born Americans from 2000-2009:

"There is essentially no effect of immigration on native poverty at the national level. At the local level, only considering the most extreme estimates and only in some localities, we find non-trivial effects of immigration on poverty. In general, however, even the local effects of immigration bear very little correlation with the observed changes in poverty rates and they explain a negligible fraction of them."

The American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership for a New American Economy similarly foundthat increasing the intake of high-skilled immigrants leads to a rise in the employment rate of native born citizens.  The same is true for temporary H1-B workers.  While Peri's study did not cover the length of the recent recession, this AEI study did and still found a net increase in native employment from skilled immigrants.

As Nick Schulz, NCF's Scholar, noted in Forbes before these studies were released, "There is wide consensus among those who have studied the issue that skilled immigrants are a net positive for the receiving country."