This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

US Sees a Slight Rise in Undocumented Immigration

The Pew Hispanic Center yesterday released its latest analysis of the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. You will recall that these estimates start with the total number of foreign-born persons living in the US (drawn from the American Community Survey, or in earlier days from the Current Population Survey) and then subtracts from that the number of people who have been legally admitted to the US. The residual is assumed (almost certainly correctly) to represent the undocumented immigration population. I mention the method mainly to remind you that there is unknown error in the estimate, but all evidence suggests that these are pretty good numbers. The bottom line is:
The sharp decline in the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population that accompanied the Great Recession has bottomed out, and the number may be rising again.
With an emphasis, on my part, on the "may be." I wouldn't bet much on one year's worth of data, but if things are going the same direction next year, I'll buy it. Most noteworthy to me was that the trend in undocumented immigration closely mirrored the latest poverty and income numbers from the Census Bureau, in which we see that the economy is not bouncing back very vigorously. The story was picked up by Elizabeth Aguilera of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Five of the six states with the most unauthorized immigrants, including California, experienced a dip in that population during the Great Recession. Only Texas saw no drop in that time.
“California is not where the economic gold seems to be,” said John Weeks, a demographer at San Diego State University. “It’s in Texas, North Carolina, other states where there have been increases in the Hispanic population. If you want to know what is happening economically, you follow the migrants and that is where they take you.”
I felt like I was repeating myself...

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