The immigrant share of the United States’ population has grown substantially over the last 30 years. Today, at 12.5 percent of the total population, it approaches levels not seen since the early 20th century. The increase in the number of the foreign-born, especially among the less-skilled and less-educated, has prompted claims that immigration negatively affects the wages and employment of the native-born, as well as state and local budgets, and the U.S. economy as a whole. Would the poverty rate be lower in the absence of immigration? Does immigration account for the failure to see increases in real median family incomes before the most recent economic downturn? Is it the case that the increase in the immigrant share of the population is responsible for the lack of progress in poverty reduction? How does the undocumented status of an increasing segment of the foreign-born population impact poverty, wages, and segregation in the U.S.?
These and related issues will be explored in a conference and edited volume organized by economists David Card and Steven Raphael, of the University of California at Berkeley. Card and Raphael, who have written extensively on many of these issues, have assembled a group of leading social scientists (and some up-and-coming ones) to write original papers at the intersection of poverty, inequality, and immigration. The result promises to be a comprehensive volume consisting of an authoritative set of chapters that will nevertheless be accessible to a wide audience.