An influx of immigrants can have quite the domino effect on the existing citizen workforce in an area, says a new study published in the Journal of Human Resources.
According to the study, authored by Harvard University economics and social policy professor George J. Borjas, Ph.D., when immigrants provide a low-wage workforce in an area, some citizens will look elsewhere for work and prospective natives will feel discouraged to move there. Why? The lower wages resulting from the larger supply of immigrant workers are the cause, the study says.
"This study shows that when immigrants come to a city or state, fewer natives move there, and some natives who were living there actually move out because of the wage effect—immigrants come in and wages decrease, so people respond," says Borjas, a faculty member of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The study is based on data collected from U.S. Censuses from 1960 through 2000. Borjas determined that the net native migration response to a large immigrant influx is particularly sizable in metropolitan areas.
"There seems to be less of a wage impact of immigration at the local level, but maybe half of that difference is due to the fact that natives move out of those cities where immigrants come in or natives don't move to those cities," Borjas says.
Additionally, the study also shows that:
The study results can be found in the Spring 2006 issue of the Journal of Human Resources. —J.D.
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