THE IMMIGRANTS: Summary Statistics 3


Changes in immigrants1 labor market skills have received a great deal of attention(Borjas 1990). The direct measure of skills that is most readily available is educational attainment. Tables la and lb give the fraction high school drop out, fraction with exactly a high school degree, fraction with some college education, and the fraction with a college degree or above.

Although the fraction of immigrants with less than a high school degree fell between 1960 and 1990 (0.69 to 0.41 for men, 0.68 to 0.39 for women), this educational group has declined faster among the native-born. Fifty-six percent of native- born men had less than a high school degree in I960* by 1990 this number was down to 22 percent. Thus, by 1990 immigrants are substantially more likely to be high school drop outs than are the native-born. This comparison looks approximately the same wrhether wTe look at recent immigrants or immigrants overall, and at men or at women.

Interestingly, immigrants have always had approximately the same rates of higher education as the native-born. The fraction with a college degree or above increased for all groups from I960 to 1990, but they are approximately the same for the native-born, immigrants, and recent immigrants within each year.

Perhaps the wray in which immigrants have changed the most over the past four decades is in their racial and ethnic composition. In 1960, only 5% of the immigrant and 7% of the recent immigrant men were Asian or other rac,e.5By 1990, 23% of immigrant and 27% of recent immigrant men were Asian. The changes in fraction Hispanic have also been dramatic. In 1970, 22%; of immigrant men were Hispanic.6 By 1990, this number had approximately doubled to 45%. The shifts are similar for women. These changes reflect the changes in the national origin mix of immigrants after the 1965 change in immigration laws (which was extended to include the Western Hemisphere in 1968 and thus took full effect sometime in the late 1960s)(Borjas 1991).

There are several other comparisons between immigrants and natives that are worth noting. Immigrants are. and always have been, more likely to live in a metropolitan area than are their native-born counterparts. Since urbanization has been increasing in the United States, this difference is smaller in the later periods. However, by 1990, over 90% of the immigrants and recent immigrants reside in metropolitan areas, as opposed to just over 80% for the native-born. Marriage rates have dropped from 1960 to 1990, however, both immigrant men and women are more likely to be married than their native-born counterparts in all years. real payday loans