THE IMMIGRANTS: Summary Statistics 4

We present a concise summary of the changes in the observable skills of immigrants in tables 2a and 2b. Here we grouped immigrants into quintiles based on predicted log hourly wage distribution for the native-born.7 If immigrants wrere a random subset of the population, we would expect to find 20% of immigrants in each quintile (see Borjas (1995) for a similar analysis). The top panel of each table is for all immigrants; the bottom panel is for recent immigrants.

Among all immigrants, the 1960 data show that only about 10% of men and 8.5% of women were in the bottom quintile. The highest fraction of immigrant men w7as in the fourth quintile (28%), wdiile women were most highly concentrated in the third quintile (33%)). There is a clear shift from 1960 to 1990. There was a 93% increase in the concentration of immigrant men in the bottom quintile between 1960 and 1990.

A large increase occurred for women as well (62%). It is worth noting, however, that based on their characteristics, by 1990 only 20.3% of immigrant men are in the bottom quintile of the distribution. Similarly, 20.7% are in the top quintile. The immigrant men are somewhat over represented in the second lowest quintile, and underrepresented in the second highest quintile. Although the changes were in the same direction for women, they look “better” compared to their native-born counter-parts. In 1990, immigrant women are under-represented in the bottom quintile (13.8%) and over-represented in the top quintile (24.8%).

The story for recent immigrants is different. Recent immigrant men have always been over-represented in the bottom quintile, however, this has increased. By 1990. 35.6% of recent immigrant men are in the lowest quintile. They increased their representation in the second quintile. and reduced it in the top three. Recent immigrant women increased their proportion in the bottom quintile, and reduced it in the middle three. However, in 1990, recent immigrant women are more heavily over-represented in the top quintile than in previous decades (24%).

The numbers in tables 2a and 2b simply summarize how the observable characteristics of immigrants changed.
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Tables la and lb also show the unadjusted log hourly wages for all groups in 1990 dollars. In 1960 and 1970, immigrant men and women both earned slightly more than their native-born counterparts. Immigrant men’s wages fell steadily relative to the native-born between 1960 and 1990. On average, immigrant men in 1960 earned 5.3% more per hour than the native born. By 1990, they earned 9.5% less on average. For immigrant women, the story is a bit different. Immigrant women earn about 2-3% more than the natives until 1990, when their wages are approximately с he same.