7

Labor Market Outcomes of Female Immigrants in the United States

Edward Funkhouser and Stephen J. Trejo

INTRODUCTION

In recent years, the increased volume and changing national origins of immigration to the United States have reopened public debate over immigration policy. During the postwar period, the share of immigrants originating in Europe and Canada fell sharply, with the slack taken up by surging immigration from Asia and Latin America. A growing body of empirical research indicates that more recent immigrant arrival cohorts are less skilled and have been less successful in the labor market than earlier cohorts, and that there are important links between the shifts in national origins and declining immigrant skills (Borjas, 1994).1 Contrary to the traditional view that immigrants rapidly assimilate into the economic mainstream of American society, the revisionist studies predict that most foreign-born workers who entered the United States during the past two decades will throughout their lifetimes earn substantially less than native workers (Borjas, 1995).

These conclusions, however, are based almost entirely on analyses of immigrant men. Few studies of foreign-born women have attempted to estimate the effects of arrival cohort and assimilation on outcomes in the manner that has revolutionized research on male immigrants.2 Using microdata from the 1980

1  

In particular, immigrant earnings in the United States are strongly correlated with per capita gross national product in the source country (Jasso and Rozenzweig, 1986; Borjas, 1987), presumably because workers from industrialized countries are better trained than workers from developing countries and their skills transfer more readily to the U.S. labor market.

2  

We know of three studies that analyze immigrant women to the United States using this approach, and two of these are somewhat limited in scope. Blau's (1992) research on fertility includes only immigrants from high-fertility regions (the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean), and Reimer's (1996) wage analysis focuses on Mexican immigrants living in California and Texas. In work done independently of but concurrently with our research, Schoeni (1996b) estimates female employment regressions broadly similar to those we report below, and in general his results are similar to ours. Recently, we have received the paper by Baker and Benjamin (1997) —which finds different patterns than ours for employment—for Canada.



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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration 7 Labor Market Outcomes of Female Immigrants in the United States Edward Funkhouser and Stephen J. Trejo INTRODUCTION In recent years, the increased volume and changing national origins of immigration to the United States have reopened public debate over immigration policy. During the postwar period, the share of immigrants originating in Europe and Canada fell sharply, with the slack taken up by surging immigration from Asia and Latin America. A growing body of empirical research indicates that more recent immigrant arrival cohorts are less skilled and have been less successful in the labor market than earlier cohorts, and that there are important links between the shifts in national origins and declining immigrant skills (Borjas, 1994).1 Contrary to the traditional view that immigrants rapidly assimilate into the economic mainstream of American society, the revisionist studies predict that most foreign-born workers who entered the United States during the past two decades will throughout their lifetimes earn substantially less than native workers (Borjas, 1995). These conclusions, however, are based almost entirely on analyses of immigrant men. Few studies of foreign-born women have attempted to estimate the effects of arrival cohort and assimilation on outcomes in the manner that has revolutionized research on male immigrants.2 Using microdata from the 1980 1   In particular, immigrant earnings in the United States are strongly correlated with per capita gross national product in the source country (Jasso and Rozenzweig, 1986; Borjas, 1987), presumably because workers from industrialized countries are better trained than workers from developing countries and their skills transfer more readily to the U.S. labor market. 2   We know of three studies that analyze immigrant women to the United States using this approach, and two of these are somewhat limited in scope. Blau's (1992) research on fertility includes only immigrants from high-fertility regions (the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean), and Reimer's (1996) wage analysis focuses on Mexican immigrants living in California and Texas. In work done independently of but concurrently with our research, Schoeni (1996b) estimates female employment regressions broadly similar to those we report below, and in general his results are similar to ours. Recently, we have received the paper by Baker and Benjamin (1997) —which finds different patterns than ours for employment—for Canada.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration and 1990 U.S. censuses, we perform such an analysis of two key labor market outcomes for immigrant women: employment and hourly earnings. The availability of census data at more than one point in time allows us to track changes for arrival cohorts as they gain experience in the United States, and it also lets us compare outcomes across cohorts. The chapter proceeds as follows. In the next two sections we describe the census data and some of the basic patterns evident in these data. In the fourth section we discuss the regression framework we use to estimate the effects of arrival cohort and assimilation on immigrant outcomes. In the fifth and sixth sections we present our regression analyses of the employment and hourly earnings of foreign-born women. For comparison purposes, in these sections we also report similar employment and wage regressions for men. In the concluding section we summarize our results. DATA We analyze microdata from the 1980 and 1990 U.S. censuses. We started with the 5 percent samples of the population available in each census, but to lighten the computational burden we randomly sampled U.S.-born individuals while retaining all foreign-born individuals so as to end up with 1 percent samples of natives and 5 percent samples of immigrants.3 All of the estimates reported here are weighted to reflect both our differential sampling of natives and immigrants and the sampling weights that accompany the 1990 Census microdata.4 Persons born abroad of American parents were excluded from study because the distinction between immigrant and native is ambiguous for such individuals. For persons born in outlying areas of the United States (e.g., Puerto Rico), information on year of arrival in the United States is available in the 1990 Census but not in the 1980 Census, and therefore we group these persons separately from other immigrants for whom we can track arrival cohorts across censuses. We restrict attention to persons aged 25–59. For each woman in the sample, we searched all other records in the same household to ascertain the number and 3   In this chapter, we use the term "immigrant" as synonymous with foreign-born individuals not born of U.S. parents, in contrast to the official terminology used by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in which immigrants are legal permanent residents, and other foreigners such as tourists, business travelers, and recent refugee arrivals are "nonimmigrant aliens." The census data analyzed here cannot make such distinctions among foreign-born individuals. 4   The 1980 census microdata are self-weighting.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration ages of her children under age 18 who were living with her.5 In the 1990 (but not 1980) Census data, the Census Bureau provides its own imputation of this type of information, and our imputation matches the Census Bureau's quite closely. Our calculation of an hourly wage measure requires a bit of explanation. We compute average hourly earnings for each worker as the ratio of annual earnings to annual hours of work in the calendar year preceding the census, where annual earnings are the sum of wage and salary income and self-employment income, and annual hours of work are the product of weeks worked and usual weekly hours of work. Only individuals with positive earnings and hours were included in the wage analyses. Because the top codes and bottom codes applied to the income variables differ between the 1980 and 1990 censuses, we imposed top and bottom codes that were the same (in real dollars) across years.6 In addition, observations in the 1980 Census data with computed hourly wages below $1 or above $200 are considered outliers and excluded. In the 1990 Census data, corresponding wage thresholds of $1.66 and $332 are applied so as to be consistent in real terms. BASIC PATTERNS Before turning to the regression analysis, we describe the characteristics of immigrant and native women in our census samples. In the first part of this section, we examine the cross-sectional patterns of immigrant cohorts using the 1990 Census. In the second part of the section, we follow synthetic arrival cohorts of immigrants and natives between the 1980 and 1990 censuses. To examine the potential importance of household decisions in labor market outcomes, we distinguish between two age groups of women: those most likely to bear children during the 1980s (women age 25–39 in 1980) and those beyond the main childbearing years (women age 40–49 in 1980). Characteristics by Arrival Cohort in the 1990 Census One of the important aspects of analysis of immigrants is the changing country composition of immigration as immigration laws, economic conditions, and political conditions have changed. Changes in the region of origin of immigrant females 5   In census data, it is often impossible to distinguish stepchildren from biological children when matching mothers with their children, and so our counts of children do not make this distinction. 6   For example, wage and salary income is top coded at $75,000 in the 1980 Census and at $140,000 in the 1990 Census. According to the gross national product deflator for personal consumption expenditure, the price level rose by 66 percent between 1979 and 1989. Therefore, we lowered the ceiling on wage and salary income in the 1990 Census data to $124,500 ($75,000 inflated from 1979 to 1989 dollars), so as to impose top codes that are equivalent in real terms. In a similar fashion, we reconciled across years the top and bottom codes for farm and nonfarm self-employment incomes.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration TABLE 7-1 Region of Origin (1990 Census)   Before 1950 (1) 1950– 1959 (2) 1960– 1969 (3) 1970– 1979 (4) 1980– 1984 (5) 1985– 1989 (6) Total (7) North America 0.139 0.098 0.105 0.019 0.016 0.019 0.036 Western Europe 0.393 0.469 0.259 0.097 0.060 0.078 0.157 Eastern Europe 0.050 0.159 0.042 0.035 0.034 0.053 0.045 Mexico 0.163 0.130 0.163 0.241 0.183 0.169 0.189 Latin America 0.071 0.087 0.269 0.225 0.285 0.230 0.231 Asia 0.063 0.096 0.163 0.322 0.351 0.379 0.281 Other 0.047 0.039 0.046 0.061 0.071 0.072 0.060 Share of Total 0.018 0.089 0.202 0.301 0.194 0.195 1.000 NOTE: For Rows 1 to 7, entries are percent of each immigrant cohort from the indicated region. Other includes country not specified. Sample size is 824,501. reported in the 1990 Census are shown in Table 7-1. Overall, over 70 percent of all female immigrants reported Mexico, Latin America, or Asia as their country of birth and only 19.3 percent reported North America or Western Europe. These total percentages reflect the change in source country of immigration from those of Europe to the developing countries of Asia and Latin America. Female immigrants from North America and Western Europe were over half of the immigrant cohorts that arrived prior to 1960. The proportion of immigrants from these countries fell significantly, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, to less than 10 percent of the arrival cohorts of the 1980s. Over the arrival cohorts in which the share from North America and Western Europe declined, the share of immigrants from Latin America and Asia increased from less than one-third of the pre-1960 arrival cohorts to over three-fourths of the total of the arrival cohorts of the 1970s and 1980s. This increase occurred in two stages, with the proportion of immigrants from Latin America increasing to one-fourth of the total during the 1960s and the increase in the proportion of immigrants from Asia to over one-third of the total occurring in the cohorts of the 1970s and 1980s.7 Mean characteristics calculated from the 1990 Census for each immigrant cohort, persons born in outlying areas of the United States, and natives are shown in Table 7-2.8 In columns (1) through (6), values for each immigrant arrival cohort are shown, grouping the 1960s arrivals and 1970s arrivals into one column for each decade. In columns (7), (8), and (9), the values for all immigrants, persons from outlying areas of the United States, and natives are shown, respectively. 7   Passel and Edmonston (1994) have noted the importance of the changes in country composition of immigration on the ethnic composition of the U.S. population. 8   The patterns are similar when regressions controlling for age are estimated.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration The first rows of Table 7-2 report mean values of several human capital variables—age, education, and English ability. These data show the bimodality in educational attainment that has also been observed for males. Overall, immigrants are disproportionately in the high and low categories of educational attainment—they are much more likely than natives not to have graduated from high school (30.6 to 12.2 percent) and they are nearly as likely to have graduated from college (20.2 to 21.3 percent). The declining trend in education levels over the cohorts from the 1960s through the first half of the 1980s is reversed slightly with the cohort of the second half of the 1980s. The difference in English ability between immigrants and natives is substantial. In the 1980 and 1990 censuses, all respondents were asked whether they "speak a language other than English at home," and only those who answered affirmatively were asked how well they speak English, with possible responses of "very well," "well," "not well," or ''not at all." Only 52.1 percent of all immigrants speak English at least "very well" (speak only English or speak English very well), compared with 98.7 percent for natives. In contrast to improvement in educational attainment among the cohorts that arrived during the late 1980s, the English ability of the most recent immigrant cohorts (39.9 percent of the 1970–74 cohort and 35.3 percent of the 1975–79 cohort) is lower than that of all previous arrivals. In the next rows of the table, labor market outcomes—percent employed, weeks worked, hours worked, log hourly earnings, and annual earnings—are shown. The main finding from these rows is the low employment rate, low number of weeks worked, and lower earnings of the two most recent immigrant cohorts (1980–1984 and 1985–1989) compared both with earlier immigrants and with natives. Overall, immigrant women have lower employment rates than natives (67.3 percent for immigrants compared with 77.3 percent for natives). These rates are extremely low for immigrant arrivals in the 1985 –1989 cohort, who had an employment rate of only 54.5 percent. The deficit diminishes with increases in time spent in the United States. The cohort of arrivals with six to ten years of experience, the 1980 –1984 cohort, has employment rates only 4 to 6 percentage points below those of the immigrant cohorts that arrived in the 1960s and 1970s (67.3 percent for the 1980–1984 cohort relative to 71 to 73 percent for the earlier ones). Among employed females, the most recent immigrants also worked fewer weeks during the previous calendar year of 1989 (38.8 weeks compared with 42.6 weeks for the 1980–1984 cohort and 44.1 weeks for natives). Usual hours worked per week for those who report positive hours are very similar across both nativity and arrival cohort, including the most recent arrivals. On average, immigrant females who report positive earnings have lower log hourly earnings (2.122 compared with 2.167 for natives). The pattern in these data are similar to the pattern of "catch-up" in earnings that has been documented in cross-sectional data for males. Recent immigrants earn significantly

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration TABLE 7-2 Mean Characteristics Females 25–59 in 1990   Before 1950 (1) 1950– 1959 (2) 1960– 1969 (3) 1970– 1979 (4) 1980– 1984 (5) 1985– 1989 (6) Total (7) Outlying Areas (8) Natives (9) Age 50.93 48.15 43.42 39.08 36.09 35.02 39.61 40.48 39.55   (0.245) (0.111) (0.074) (0.061) (0.075) (0.075) (0.034) (0.122) (0.011) Less than 0.215 0.210 0.247 0.347 0.356 0.306 0.306 0.423 0.122 High School (0.009) (0.004) (0.003) (0.002) (0.003) (0.003) (0.001) (0.004) (0.000) High School 0.323 0.360 0.310 0.252 0.260 0.259 0.278 0.300 0.365 Graduate (0.012) (0.006) (0.004) (0.003) (0.004) (0.004) (0.002) (0.006) (0.001) Some 0.237 0.261 0.256 0.204 0.194 0.186 0.215 0.179 0.300 College (0.012) (0.005) (0.004) (0.003) (0.004) (0.004) (0.002) (0.006) (0.001) College 0.226 0.168 0.188 0.196 0.190 0.249 0.202 0.098 0.213 Graduate (0.010) (0.005) (0.003) (0.003) (0.003) (0.003) (0.001) (0.005) (0.001) English 0.845 0.809 0.678 0.497 0.399 0.353 0.521 0.518 0.987 Very Well (0.005) (0.002) (0.001) (0.001) (0.002) (0.001) (0.001) (0.002) (0.000) Percent 0.687 0.692 0.727 0.712 0.673 0.545 0.673 0.534 0.773 Employed (0.011) (0.005) (0.003) (0.003) (0.003) (0.003) (0.001) (0.005) (0.001) Weeks 44.71 44.68 44.57 43.55 42.57 38.78 42.95 42.67 44.09 Worked (0.43) (0.19) (0.12) (0.10) (0.13) (0.15) (0.06) (0.24) (0.02)

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration Hours 36.57 36.60 37.90 38.48 38.37 37.78 38.01 37.28 37.12 Worked (0.37) (0.17) (0.11) (0.09) (0.11) (0.13) (0.05) (0.21) (0.02) Log Hourly 2.321 2.249 2.236 2.147 2.017 1.943 2.122 2.129 2.167 Earnings (0.020) (0.009) (0.006) (0.005) (0.006) (0.007) (0.003) (0.011) (0.001) Annual 13,961 12,950 13,774 12,276 9,663 6,565 11,047 8,311 13,243 Earnings (364) (165) (109) (90) (112) (111) (49) (181) (16) Poverty 0.083 0.068 0.090 0.144 0.195 0.266 0.159 0.314 0.102 Rate (0.008) (0.004) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.001) (0.004) (0.000) Percent 0.696 0.735 0.709 0.739 0.708 0.702 0.718 0.503 0.667 Married (0.012) (0.005) (0.004) (0.003) (0.004) (0.004) (0.002) (0.006) (0.001) Children 2.722 2.425 2.143 2.282 2.081 1.786 2.139 2.650 1.967 Ever Born (0.013) (0.019) (0.013) (0.011) (0.013) (0.013) (0.006) (0.021) (0.002) Any 0.868 0.853 0.814 0.830 0.790 0.698 .796 0.871 0.776 Children (0.011) (0.005) (0.003) (0.003) (0.003) (0.003) (.001) (0.005) (0.001) Note: Employment status, weeks worked, usual hours worked, logarithm of hourly income, and annual income are for 1989 calendar year. Means for weeks worked, usual hours worked, and logarithm of hourly income are calculated for those with positive values. Sample sizes are 824,501 for age, education, English ability, and percent employed; 602,530 for weeks worked and usual hours; 586,490 for logarithm of hourly wage; 824,501 for annual earnings; 822,099 for poverty status; 824,501 for marital status and fertility.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration below natives (1.943), but the cohorts that arrived 10–20 years prior to the census have log hourly earnings similar to natives (2.147 for the 1970–1979 arrivals). And immigrants who arrived more than 20 years prior to the 1990 Census earn significantly above natives (2.236 for the 1960–1969 cohort). The combination of lower employment rates, fewer weeks worked, and lower hourly wages result in lower annual earnings for immigrants ($11,047) compared with those of than natives ($13,243). In this table, we include poverty levels as a measure of household economic status. The pattern is similar to that for earnings except that the increase across successive earlier cohorts is more gradual, with even the 1970–1979 cohort having significantly higher poverty rates than natives. Only for immigrants who arrived prior to 1970 are poverty rates similar to or lower than those of natives. In the final rows of the table, marriage and fertility characteristics are shown. Overall, immigrants are more likely to be married with spouse present than are natives (71.8 to 66.7 percent). In contrast to the patterns in the other variables in the table, the two most recent cohorts have marriage rates that are similar to the average for all immigrants (70.2 percent for the 1985–1989 cohort and 70.8 percent for the 1980–1984 cohort).9 In these data, the cohort that arrived between 1970 and 1979 has the highest marriage rate (73.9 percent). Even from these summary data, it can be seen that the role for changes in marital status to explain labor market behavior during the first years of entry to the United States is low. There are significant fertility differences between immigrants and natives. In the next row, it can be seen that immigrants have had more children than natives (2.139 to 1.967) and that earlier arrivals (who are, on average, older) have had more children than more recent arrivals. The lower total number of children of the most recent cohort (1.786 compared with 1.967 for natives), reflects a lower number of woman who have had any children (69.8 to 77.6 percent), while the number of children per woman who has had children is similar to that of natives. Although not the primary focus of our study, the patterns for immigrants from outlying areas, 90 percent of whom are from Puerto Rico, are an interesting comparison because of their unique legal status. The characteristics of immigrants from these areas are shown in column (8). These immigrants have out 9   An issue of interest is the effect of the Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA) on the household composition of immigrants. Because 56 percent of the population legalized under the provisions of IRCA are male and 84 percent are from Mexico and Central America, initial projections were that other family members entered the United States to reside with the recently legalized, predominantly male immigrants. In addition, the Legalized Population Survey followed households that legalized under the provisions of IRCA. The average household size of the legalized population decreased from 4.7 members to 4.5 members, while the size of the immediate family increased from 2.9 to 3.4 members. The main shifts in the composition of the immediate family include an increase in the proportion with spouses from 51 to 63 percent and an increase in the mean number of children from 1.4 to 1.7 members.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration comes in the labor market that are similar to those of the most recent immigrant arrivals. In fact, this group has employment rates that are lower and poverty rates that are higher than those of the 1985 –1989 immigrant cohort. Their household characteristics are quite different, however, from the most recent immigrant arrival cohorts. Women from these areas have the lowest marriage rates and have high fertility. The patterns in this table show that more recent immigrants have lower employment and lower earnings than both earlier arrivals and natives. Among the observable characteristics we have examined, these immigrants have lower mean age, a higher proportion with less than high school education, and worse English ability than other groups, characteristics that may explain some of the differences in labor market outcomes. Assimilation and Changes Across Cohorts without Controls Although interesting, the mean characteristics provide only partial information on the role of the U.S. experience on immigrant outcomes. The comparison of the performance of an earlier immigrant cohort (the 1975–1979 cohort with 11–15 years of experience in the United States at the time of the 1990 Census, for example) with the performance of a more recent cohort (the 1985–1989 cohort with 0–5 years of experience in the United States, for example) does not provide all the information necessary to infer how the more recent cohort will perform as it gains more experience in the United States. Two things are changing when we compare immigrant arrival groups using one cross-section of data. The first is the number of years in the United States (going from 0–5 years of experience to 11–15 years of experience in the example). The second change is the population that is being observed (the 1975–1979 arrival cohort versus the 1985–1989 arrival cohort). Because of changes in country composition or changes in the self-selection within the pool of immigrants from a particular country, immigrants are not drawn from the same population over time. An earlier cohort may perform better because it has had more time to integrate into the labor market or because it arrived in the United States with better observable or unobservable skills than more recent cohorts. We refer to differences in how different immigrant cohorts may perform at all levels of experience in the United States as cohort effects and the changes related to additional time in the United States as assimilation effects.10 To examine how immigrant characteristics change with additional time in the United States, it is necessary to follow immigrant cohorts between the data 10   It is not surprising, for example, that more recent immigrant cohorts do not speak English as well as do earlier arrivals since they are more likely to come from non-English-speaking countries. Similarly, it may not be surprising that more recent immigrant cohorts that arrived after U.S. immigration policy placed greater emphasis on family reunification and less emphasis on labor market skills do not perform as well in the labor market.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration provided in the censuses. For each initial level of experience (0 –5 years of U.S. experience for the 1975–1979 cohort in 1980, for example), the change in an outcome between the census years provides a measure of the effect of an additional ten years in the United States. To examine how more recent immigrant cohorts compare with earlier ones (how the 1985–1989 cohort compares with the 1975–1979 cohort), it is necessary to compare groups at times in which they have factors other than an immigrant's assimilation may be changing between the two census years. For each of the two types of comparisons, natives provide a baseline to capture these other factors that change between census dates. Given our initial sample, we follow arrival cohorts separately for two age groups—those aged 25–39 in 1980 (and 35–49 in 1990) and those aged 40–49 in 1980 (50–59 in 1990).11 Changes in labor market behavior related to fertility are most likely to affect females aged 25–39. In contrast, as will be seen in Table 7-6, most of the females aged 40–49 in 1980 had completed their fertility (though not child care) and did not experience changes between 1980 and 1990. The older group is a natural control group to examine changes in labor market behavior related to fertility, although not necessarily for the presence of children. Tables 7-3 to 7-6—employment, logarithm of hourly earnings, marital status, and fertility, respectively—include a column for 1980, a column for 1990, and a column for the difference between the two years. To control for general economic conditions, each entry in columns (1) and (2) for the immigrant groups is the difference calculated relative to natives. The comparison of changes between the two years in column (3) then indicates the extent to which immigrant groups are catching up to or falling behind natives. For the two outcome variables that we examine in more detail with regression analysis in the next section—employment rates and the logarithm of hourly earnings—and a third potentially important outcome —fertility—we include two additional columns so we can calculate cohort effects. The cleanest comparison of outcomes across cohorts compares immigrants of the same age and same amount of experience in the United States, but from different arrival cohorts. We make these comparisons in columns (4) and (5). In column (4), cohort means are calculated for 1990 that use the same age restrictions as those used in 1980. In column (5), we calculate the mean difference between each cohort and the cohort that arrived ten years prior.12 An important note about all of these tables is that, 11   For groups for which emigration and death are not large, these samples are drawn from the same population in the two years. For most groups, attrition does not appear to be a large issue. The exception is the immigrant cohort that arrived prior to 1950. To a lesser extent there is also attrition from the 1950–1959 cohort. 12   In the tables for education, English ability, and marital status, in which we are most interested in assimilation between the two census dates, we do not provide calculations of the cohort effects at the same point in the life cycle for most immigrant groups. In the bottom rows of these tables, we calculate cohort effects for the arrival cohorts of the 1980s relative to those of the 1970s.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration by following narrow age groups over time, year of arrival is also an indicator of age at arrival. For example, within the 25–39 age group observed in the 1990 Census, those who arrived between 1970 and 1974 were between the ages of 5 and 23 at arrival, while those who arrived between 1980 and 1984 were between the ages of 15 and 33 at arrival. Labor Market Assimilation We begin with the measures that have been most studied for males—employment rates and the logarithm of hourly earnings, shown in Tables 7-3 and 7-4, respectively. To see how these tables are organized, consider employment rates in Table 7-3. In 1980, employment rates of native females were 70.7 percent for those TABLE 7-3, Panel A Employment in Previous Year in 1980 and 1990   Age 25 to 39 in 1980 Age 35 to 49 in 1990 Age 25 to 39 in 1990   Percent Employed Actual Changes Percent Employed Cohort   1980 1990 1980–1990 1990 Change   (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Natives 0.707 0.797 0.090 0.801     (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) (0.001)   Relative to Natives: Outlying -0.267 -0.222 0.045 -0.242   Areas (0.009) (0.007) (0.011) (0.008)   Immigrants: Pre-1950 -0.054 -0.021 0.033         (0.016) (0.016) (0.023)   1950–1959 -0.025 -0.023 0.002 -0.022     (0.008) (0.007) (0.011) (0.011)   1960–1964 -0.045 -0.046 -0.001 -0.020     (0.008) (0.007) (0.011) (0.009)   1965–1969 -0.052 -0.057 -0.005 -0.038     (0.006) (0.006) (0.008) (0.007)   1970–1974 0.069 -0.076 -0.007 -0.077 -0.032   (0.006) (0.005) (0.008) (0.006) (0.010) 1975–1979 -0.157 -0.068 0.089 -0.094 -0.042   (0.005) (0.005) (0.007) (0.005) (0.008) 1980–1984       -0.125 -0.056         (0.004) (0.007) 1985–1989       -0.247 -0.090         (0.004) (0.006) NOTE: Entries are the proportion of each group that being employed during the previous calendar year. Sample sizes are 343,713 in Column 1,331,543 in Column 2, and 430,836 in Column 4.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration TABLE 7-12 Female Wage Regressions, Selected Coefficients, by Nativity and Census Year   Natives Immigrants Regressor 1980 1990 1980 1990 Education: 0–8 Years -.184 -.184 -.083 -.080   (.008) (.012) (.021) (.017) 9–11 Years -.121 -.174 -.063 -.075   (.006) (.006) (.025) (.021) 12 Years (reference group) 13–15 Years .127 .181 .131 .160   (.005) (.004) (.021) (.015) 16 or More Years .425 .519 .360 .434   (.005) (.004) (.022) (.015) English Proficiency: Speaks Only English (reference group) Speaks English Very Well .010 .002 .013 -.005   (.010) (.008) (.022) (.016) Speaks English Well .009 -.031 -.039 -.092   (.017) (.015) (.023) (.018) Speaks English Not Well     -.097 -.175       (.027) (.021) Speaks English Not at All     -.131 -.216       (.036) (.028) Marital Status: Never Married (reference group) Married -.068 -.029 -.068 .001   (.006) (.004) (.022) (.016) Widowed, Divorced, or Separated -.026 .002 -.042 -.006   (.006) (.005) (.026) (.019) Note: These coefficients are from the same hourly earnings regression reported in column (3) of Table 7-11; see the note to that table for more information. Standard errors are shown in parentheses. For natives, the English proficiency categories representing bilinguals who speak English ''well," "not well," or "not at all" have been collapsed into a single dummy variable. of male immigrants (Borjas, 1994, 1995). Note that the magnitude of the earnings decline is broadly similar for women and men: the estimates in column (1) of Table 7-11 indicate that the relative wages of immigrant women fell 15 percent between the 1950–1959 and 1985–1989 arrival cohorts, whereas in Table 7-13 the corresponding wage decline for immigrant men is 18 percent. Controlling for ethnicity reverses the direction of the cohort wage effects for men, a finding which attests to the powerful link between immigrant skill changes and the dramatic shifts in the national origin composition of U.S. immigration flows that have occurred during the postwar period (Borjas, 1992; LaLonde and Topel, 1992).

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration FIGURE 7-5 Estimated wage profiles for immigrant and native women.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration TABLE 7-13 Male Wage Regressions, Immigrant Cohort and Assimilation Effects and Period Effects Regressor (1) (2) (3) Immigrant Cohort: 1985–89 Arrival -.286 -.007 .105   (.014) (.017) (.021) 1980–84 Arrivals -.272 .019 .155   (.047) (.048) (.048) 1975–79 Arrivals -.256 -.118 .034   (.017) (.021) (.028) 1970–74 Arrivals -.195 -.033 .112   (.045) (.046) (.049) 1965–69 Arrivals -.182 -.212 -.031   (.037) (.046) (.059) 1960–64 Arrivals -.084 -.126 .025   (.046) (.054) (.065) 1950–59 Arrivals -.102 -.351 -.151   (.060) (.073) (.093) Born in Outlying Area of U.S. -.210 .095 .195   (.016) (.035) (.035) Duration of U.S. Residence: 0–5 Years (reference group) 6–10 Years .035 .052 .037$D   (.045) (.045) (.043) 11–15 Years .124 .312 .247$D   (.023) (.029) (.035) 16–20 Years .135 .329 .251$D   (.044) (.047) (.051) 21–30 Years .220 .574 .440$D   (.045) (.057) (.070) 31–40 Years .243 .753 .582$D   (.077) (.091) (.109) 1990 Census Dummy .358 .369 .390$D   (.009) (.009) (.010) Finally, we briefly discuss results from wage regressions estimated separately for immigrants from the major racial-ethnic groups. For both women and men, white and Asian immigrants have wage profiles similar to those of U.S.-born workers. As in the case of employment, we present a separate figure for Mexican wage profiles in Figures 7-7 and 7-8. In contrast to some other groups, Mexicans stand out with a very pronounced pattern of lower wages for more recent immigrant cohorts, even after controlling for observable characteristics. Moreover, wages do not grow for Mexican immigrants as they acquire experience living and working in the United States, which results in huge wage deficits relative to natives for Mexicans from all age and duration of U.S. residence groups. Previous studies have documented these patterns for Mexican men (Smith, 1991; Borjas, 1995; Schoeni, 1996a), and our analyses indicate that labor market outcomes are similar for Mexican women.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration Regressor (1) (2) (3) R2 .190 .206 .286 Other Controls: Census Division and Metropolitan Status Yes Yes Yes Age Yes Yes Yes Ethnicity No Yes Yes Educational Attainment No No Yes English Proficiency No No Yes Marital Status No No Yes Note: The dependent variable is the natural logarithm of average hourly earnings in the calendar year preceding the Census. The coefficients were estimated by least squares, with standard errors shown in parentheses. Sampling weights were used in the regressions. Data are from the 1980 and 1990 Censuses. The sample includes men aged 25–59 with positive earnings in the calendar year preceding the Census. Excluded are any immigrants who may have been younger than age 15 when they first arrived in the United States. The total sample size is 350,074 observations: 94,792 immigrants and 255,282 natives. The effects of Census division and metropolitan status are restricted to be the same for immigrants and natives, but these effects can differ in 1980 and 1990. The effects of all other control variables are allowed to vary both by nativity and Census year. CONCLUSION In this concluding section, we summarize our findings about the employment and wages of female immigrants and place these findings in the context of other studies that compare labor market outcomes across immigrant arrival cohorts and track changes experienced by cohorts as they adapt to life in the United States. Existing empirical research of this type focuses almost exclusively on male immigrants. Broadly speaking, the employment and wages of foreign-born women exhibit the same pattern of decline across arrival cohorts that has been uncovered for immigrant men, but some important differences emerge. For women, the pattern of cohort decline is particularly strong for employment, with steady reductions in the employment rate of successive immigrant cohorts arriving after 1970. This basic trend shows up for female immigrants from every ethnic group that we examine, and the drop in labor market activity is particularly severe for women from Mexico. Shifts in the national origin composition of immigrant flows to the United States account for roughly a third of the employment decline between pre-1970 and post-1980 cohorts of female immigrants, and remaining cohort differences are largely explained by variables such as education, English proficiency, marital status, and fertility. Even with extensive control variables, however, the employment rate of the 1980s arrivals remains well below that of earlier immigrants. Finally, after an initial period of adjustment to the United States, female immigrants who arrived before 1970 are only slightly less likely to

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration TABLE 7-14 Male Wage Regressions, Selected Coefficients, by Nativity and Census Year   Natives Immigrants Regressor 1980 1990 1980 1990 Education: 0–8 Years -.226 -.221 -.082 -.122   (.006) (.008) (.019) (.014) 9–11 Years -.102 -.151 -.040 -.076   (.005) (.005) (.023) (.018) 12 Years (reference group) 13–15 Years .069 .114 .071 .095   (.004) (.003) (.020) (.014) 16 or More Years .277 .407 .363 .400   (.004) (.004) (.019) (.014) English Proficiency: Speaks Only English (reference group) Speaks English Very Well -.041 -.025 -.063 -.080   (.008) (.008) (.019) (.015) Speaks English Well -.079 -.043 -.136 -.144   (.014) (.013) (.020) (.016) Speaks English Not Well     -.238 -.250       (.024) (.018) Speaks English Not at All     -.333 -.326       (.033) (.024) Marital Status: Never Married (reference group) Married .255 .237 .161 .148   (.005) (.004) (.019) (.013) Widowed, Divorced .140 .080 .081 .030 or Separated (.006) (.005) (.028) (.019) Note: These coefficients are from the same hourly earnings regression reported in column (3) of Table 7-13; see the note to that table for more information. Standard errors are shown in parentheses. For natives, the English proficiency categories representing bilinguals who speak English "well," "not well," or ''not at all" have been collapsed into a single dummy variable. work than native women, whereas more recent immigrants display much lower levels of labor market attachment. For immigrant men, studies by Borjas (1992) and Fry (1996a, 1996b, 1996c) use census data to analyze differences in labor force activity across arrival cohorts, and these authors report a tendency for lower activity among more recent cohorts. The estimated differences across cohorts of male immigrants are quite small, however, especially when compared with the much larger employment differences observed across cohorts of female immigrants. Indeed, the employment regressions for men that we report here imply negligible cohort differen-

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration FIGURE 7-6 Estimated wage profiles for immigrant and native men.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration FIGURE 7-7 Estimated wage profiles for women: Mexican immigrants and white natives.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration FIGURE 7-8 Estimated wage profiles for men: Mexican immigrants and white natives.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration tials. Our reading of the available evidence is that a strong pattern of lower employment rates for more recent immigrant arrival cohorts exists only for women and not for men. The impact of assimilation on immigrant employment, however, is strikingly similar for men and women. Regardless of gender, employment rates rise sharply—on the order of 10 percentage points—as the foreign born pass from their initial five years of U.S. residence to the next five years, and thereafter employment rates change relatively little with further exposure to America. 29 Except during this period of adjustment, immigrant employment rates follow a similar age path as native employment rates. A growing body of evidence indicates that recent cohorts of foreign-born men have lower wage profiles than earlier cohorts.30 Our analysis of hourly earnings reveals a similar pattern of cohort decline for the wages of immigrant women. The magnitude of this wage decline does not appear to differ much by gender, with our own estimates indicating that the hourly earnings of immigrants (relative to natives) fell by 15 percent for women and 18 percent for men between the 1950 –1959 and 1985–1989 arrival cohorts. For Mexican immigrants, in particular, the same story describes male and female earnings: sharply declining wages across arrival cohorts, large wage deficits relative to native workers, and little indication that immigrants erase much of this wage gap over their lifetimes. Previous studies have documented these patterns for Mexican men (Smith, 1991; Borjas, 1995; Schoeni, 1996a), and we find similar patterns for Mexican women. The source of the wage decline across immigrant arrival cohorts, however, may differ for men and women. Specifically, shifts in the national origins of U.S. immigration flows can account for the diminished earning capacity of more recent male immigrant cohorts, whereas these shifts play a relatively minor role in explaining the earnings changes observed for female immigrant cohorts. Instead, wage differences across arrival cohorts of foreign-born women are more closely related to human capital variables such as education, English proficiency, and martial status. After controlling for these variables, wage differences among post-1960 cohorts of female immigrants shrink dramatically, and these immigrants earn about as much as native women during their initial ten years in the United States and more than natives after labor market assimilation takes place. Overall, our analysis indicates that the empirical techniques that have revolutionized research on the labor market outcomes of foreign-born men can also provide insight into the experiences of female immigrants to the United States. Many of the same patterns arise for men and women, along with some interesting 29   Schoeni (1996b), for women, and Chiswick et al. (1997), for men, report patterns of immigrant labor force assimilation consistent with what we find. 30   Borjas (1994) surveys this literature.

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The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration differences, and both the similarities and the differences invite further study. In particular, theoretical and empirical models that emphasize the family context of migration decisions (Mincer, 1978; Borjas and Bronars, 1991) have the potential to advance our understanding of immigrant selectivity and adaptation. REFERENCES Baker, Michael, and Dwayne Benjamin 1997. "The Role of Family in Immigrants' Labor Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations." American Economic Review 87(4):705–727. Blau, Francine D. 1992. "The Fertility of Immigrant Women: Evidence from High-Fertility Source Countries." Pp. 93–133 in Immigration and the Work Force: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, George J. Borjas and Richard B. Freeman, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Borjas, George J. 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants." Journal of Labor Economics 3(4):463–489. Borjas, George J. 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants." American Economic Review 77 (4):531–553. Borjas, George J. 1992. "National Origin and the Skills of Immigrants in the Postwar Period" Pp. 17–47 in Immigration and the Work Force: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, George J. Borjas and Richard B. Freeman, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Borjas, George J. 1994. "The Economics of Immigration." Journal of Economic Literature 32(4):1667–1717. Borjas, George J. 1995. "Assimilation and Changes in Cohort Quality Revisited: What Happened to Immigrant Earnings in the 1980s?" Journal of Labor Economics 13(2):201–245. Borjas, George J., and Stephen G. Bronars 1991. "Immigration and the Family." Journal of Labor Economics 9(2):123–248. Bound, John, and George Johnson 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations." American Economic Review 82(3):371–392. Chiswick, Barry R. 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-Born Men." Journal of Political Economy 86(5):897–921. Chiswick, Barry R., Yinon Cohen, and Tzippi Zach 1997. "The Labor Market Status of Immigrants: Effects of the Unemployment Rate at Arrival and Duration of Residence." Industrial and Labor Relations Review 50(2):289–303. Friedberg, Rachel M. 1991. "The Labor Market Assimilation of Immigrants in the United States: The Role of Age at Arrival." Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fry, Richard 1996a. "Has the Quality of Immigrants Declined? Evidence from the Labor Market Attachment of Immigrants." Contemporary Economic Policy 14(3):53–70. Fry, Richard 1996b. What Explains the Decline in the Relative Employment of Immigrants? Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor.

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