Immigration and Wealth Inequality in the U.S.
Lingxin Hao, Johns Hopkins University
This paper addresses two possible ways in which immigration can affect inequality in the United States. First recent immigrants may enlarge the bottom of the wealth distribution. Second, the stratification of wealth by ethnicity and education may differ by nativity. Based on nine surveys of the SIPP (1984-96) with a large sample of immigrant households, we performed quantile regression analysis at the bottom, median and top locations for five age groups. Findings include (1) later arrival cohorts and non-naturalization contribute to a larger bottom of the wealth distribution; (2) having no high school education harms natives more than immigrants, suggesting that immigration reduces the polarizing effect of education at the bottom of the wealth distribution; and (3) high-educated immigrants do not accumulate as much wealth as their native counterparts, suggesting that immigration also reduces the polarizing effect of education at the top of the wealth distribution.
Presented in Session 85: Wealth Inequality