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Income Inequality and Immigrants

Posted by: Michael Mandel on June 05

Steve Antler at Econopundit responds to today’s article in the NYT about the widening gap between the very rich and the rest of us.

This US “gap between richest and poorest” has to be the most rigged datum in the history of economic thought. The highest percentiles have no income ceiling. The lowest are perpetually augmented by immigrants whose massive upward income mobility remains untabulated because immigrants’ starting incomes were earned outside the US.

If Antler is right, then immigrants should make up a disproportionate and growing share of the poor. In fact, that’s what the numbers show.

Share of families headed by non-natives
                  poor families     all families
1995               19.7%              10.9%
2003               23.5%              14.5%
share of married couple families headed by non-natives
                  poor families     all families
1995               29.8%              10.7%
2003               35.1%              14.3%

What this means, for example, is that 35% of poor married couples are headed by immigrants. That’s spectacularly high.

Note: Antler also chides me here for inappropriate understanding of blog etiquette.

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Reader Comments

Jack Krupansky

June 5, 2005 08:56 PM

Or, maybe a lot of these immigrants are just doing a better job of hiding their income, at least some of which may have been paid under the table.

-- Jack Krupansky

Patrick Huber

June 7, 2005 10:38 AM

Thank you for showing the truth of how poor the poor really are and how figures don't lie, but liars can figure. Patrick Huber

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.



Michael Mandel, BW's award-winning chief economist, provides his unique perspective on the hot economic issues of the day. From globalization to the future of work to the ups and downs of the financial markets, Mandel-named 2006 economic journalist of the year by the World Leadership Forum-offers cutting edge analysis and commentary.

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