Impact of Immigration on the Distribution of American Well-Being

Gary Burtless

WP#2009-34

Abstract

Changes in the net immigration rate and in the age distribution and skills of immigrants have important effects on the average age and skill mix of the population. In the short run, increases in immigration boost the number of workers and aggregate earnings and reduce the ratio of elderly to non-elderly. This paper examines the impact of U.S. immigration since 1980 on trends in wages and income and the relative incomes of young and old.  It simulates the wage and income distributional impacts of a reduced flow of immigrants into the United States…