Contrary To Popular Belief Immigrants Work More Than Natives


Not that this should be hugely a surprise if we give it a moment’s thought. But immigrants have a lower unemployment rate, a higher workforce participation rate, than do natives. That’s for the United States of course:

The unemployment rate for foreign-born persons in the United States was 3.5 percent
in 2018, down from 4.1 percent in 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. The jobless rate of native-born persons was 4.0 percent in 2018, down from
4.4 percent in 2017.

It’s not hugely difficult to see why once we look at the details of the figures. Immigrants trend more male, they’re more likely to be of prime working age:

The demographic composition of the foreign-born labor force differs from that
of the native-born labor force. In 2018, men accounted for 57.5 percent of the
foreign-born labor force, compared with 52.2 percent of the native-born labor
force. By age, the proportion of the foreign-born labor force made up of 25- to
54-year-olds (73.2 percent) was higher than for the native-born labor force
(62.0 percent). Labor force participation is typically highest among persons in
that age bracket.

Male labour force participation is higher than female.

immigrant working status
immigrant working status

There is one more point of course. If you’re an immigrant but not yet a citizen you don’t really gain access to any of the welfare state. It’s thus work or stave. Quite an incentive really.

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The MoleJonathan Harston Recent comment authors
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Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston

It’s like the classic Remainer argument: immigrant workers are more productive than the average British citizen. Well, yes they would be because you’re comparing “worker” with “child+student+worker+retiree”, so it’s mathematically impossible for it not to be so.

The Mole
The Mole

Even if you compared them to an equivalent demographic (age+gender+training level) sample I’m pretty certain that on average the immigrants will be more productive, purely on the grounds that the lazy feckless ones wouldn’t have bothered to get up and move country. In both the legal and illegal cases, to actually get into the country requires perseverance, problem solving skills and drive all of which almost certainly bias the sample to people more likely to be productive than the populations average.