Figure 7.13

Net present value of average immigrant by age at arrival.

immigrants of ages 10 to 30. Less restrictively, but still with the narrow goal of avoiding negative NPVs, policy could simply avoid admitting immigrants at ages above 40 or 45. (Figures 7.10 to 7.12 can be consulted for the detail of age-education interactions.) Figure 7.13 also makes clear, however, that, ages at arrival that are good for the federal budget are bad for the state and local budgets, and vice versa.

The curves in Figure 7.13 all refer to individuals of different ages. However, it is a simple matter to constitute families by summing these estimates across the ages of family members at arrival for any desired family configuration. Looking at Figure 7.13 from another perspective, we see that a family with parents of any age at least up to the early forties, with younger children, would have a positive net fiscal impact. Inclusion of elderly family members would substantially reduce it.

These figures indicate the great variation in the fiscal surplus or burdens that immigrants impose. Less skilled or older immigrants are more likely to be fiscal burdens, and the higher-skilled and young adults are fiscal benefactors of the native-born. In fact, immigration policy has many goals other than purely economic ones, and the composition of current immigrants presumably reflects this diversity of purpose. For example, the less-educated immigrants who impose a



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement