The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
of the fiscal impact of an immigrant with less than a high school education is -$13,000; in contrast, the net present value for an immigrant with more than a high school education is +$198,000.
If the only policy goal were to maximize the positive contribution of immigration to public-sector budgets, that could be achieved by policies favoring highly educated immigrants and not admitting immigrants over age 50.
Although the average fiscal impacts of new immigration measured in present values are found to be positive under most scenarios, the impact of an increase in the annual flow of immigrants would initially be negative overall for a couple of decades before turning positive. The timing and extent of such a period depends crucially on federal fiscal policy. Given that near-term fiscal burdens will be offset by later fiscal gains, the present-value estimates of the long-term fiscal impact will be sensitive to the choice of a discount rate for comparing future expenditures and revenues with current ones.
Finally, under most scenarios, the long-run fiscal impact is strongly positive at the federal level, but substantially negative at the state and local levels. The federal impact is shared evenly across the nation, but the negative state and local impacts are concentrated in the few states and localities that receive most of the new immigrants. Consequently, native residents of some states, such as California, may incur net fiscal burdens from immigrants while residents of most states reap net fiscal benefits.
Social Dimensions of Immigration
How well are immigrants and their descendants integrated into American society, and how does immigration affect important American institutions? These are complex research issues, in which speculation and public discourse often run ahead of conclusive research findings. Despite fears in the past about the effects of immigration on the social fabric of the nation, few socioeconomic differences now separate the descendants of immigrants from Europe. Whether the same generational progress will characterize present-day immigrants and their children remains to be seen. Early readings suggest that some recent immigrants and their children—especially Asian Americans—match native-born whites in education and occupation, although not in incomes, fairly quickly.
Residential segregation is another visible measure of social distance. Recent immigrants tend to cluster in neighborhoods with others from their country of origin. But with convergence in socioeconomic status across generations, most immigrants disperse from the ethnic neighborhoods where they first tend to settle, and integrate with the overall population.
This residential movement has parallels in intermarriage among immigrant groups. Today, the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of immigrants from various European countries and of various religions—once so dis-