Immigration & Poverty

Overview

Immigration & Poverty

The Center’s focus on immigration and poverty is motivated by the important role immigrants play in the U.S. economy, and by the Center’s location in the Central Valley of California. Each of our other research areas: Labor Markets and Poverty, the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty, and the Non-traditional Safety Net hold questions that are unique to the immigrant experience.

See below for more information on research projects and other resources related to this topic.

Overview

Research on Immigration and Poverty

The Center’s focus on immigration and poverty is motivated by the important role immigrants play in the U.S. economy, and by the Center’s location in the Central Valley of California. Each of our other research areas: Labor Markets and Poverty, the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty, and the Non-cash Safety Net hold questions that are unique to the immigrant experience.

For example, what is the connection between low skilled workers’ wages, inequality and immigration? How do access and take-up of safety-net programs among immigrant populations differ from native populations? How does the process of immigrant assimilation affect intergenerational mobility?

Our Research Affiliates across a wide range of disciplines are employing both quantitative and qualitative research strategies to shed light on these important questions.

Post Caitlin Patler

From Undocumented to Lawfully Present: Do Changes to Legal Status Impact Psychological Wellbeing among Latino Immigrant Young Adults?
Caitlin Patler (Affiliate in Sociology)

Exclusionary immigration policies have led to a sizeable undocumented population that is largely barred from access to resources in the United States, however there is little research that looks at the impact of legal status on immigrants’ psychological wellbeing. 

Research Paper Marianne Page Ann Huff Stevens

Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations
Hilary Hoynes, Marianne Page, and Ann Huff Stevens (Affiliates in Economics)

Over the past 45 years, the United States has experienced a rising standard of living, with real GDP per capita more than doubling between 1959 and 2004. In contrast, living standards among some groups seem to have stagnated. Although a number of studies have documented a correlation between macroeconomic conditions and poverty, the relationship is not as simple, or as strong, as one might think. What additional factors can explain the starkly different trends in economic well-being that are measured by overall GDP growth and the poverty rate?

Research Paper Gail Goodman

Spanish Language Learning Experiences Project
Gail Goodman (Affiliate in Psychology), Susan Hobbs and graduate researcher Jonni Johnson (Psychology)

The number of adults in the U. S. with learning problems range from 3-15% of the general population, and of those with learning problems, approximately 48% are out of the workforce or unemployed (National Institute for Literacy, 1999). Identifying and assessing these individuals is critical so that pre- and postemployment services can be tailored to their learning needs. To this end, Research Affiliate Gail Goodman and the Center for Public Policy Research (CPPR) at UC Davis, is developing a short screening measure for Spanish-speaking adult applicants for the Welfare-to-Work program to determine those at risk for learning problems. The entire project is expected to last approximately three years.

Overview

Policy Briefs on Immigration & Poverty

These briefs are short and informative analyses of our research relating to poverty policies. Policy Briefs deliver our cutting-edge research directly to policy makers, researchers, and stakeholders in an accessible format. 

Growth of Local Latino Populations Linked to Increase in County-Level Immigration Policy Adoption
By M. Anne Visser, University of California, Davis, and Sheryl-Ann Simpson, Carleton University

Though immigration policymaking has traditionally occurred at the federal level, it is increasingly prevalent at sub-national levels, too. In a recent study, we examined the adoption of these policies at the county level in the United States. Specifically, we considered the implementation of migrant labor market regularizations (LRs) between 2004 and 2014. LRs affect aspects of migrant workers’ status in labor markets and include laws and ordinances related to anti-solicitation, language access, local enforcement of federal immigration law, and employment verification.

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Granting In-State Tuition to Undocumented Students Increases Their Rates of College Attendance
By Michel Grosz, Federal Trade Commission, and Annie Hines, Cornerstone Research

Among disadvantaged groups, rates of postsecondary enrollment are disproportionately low, with undocumented immigrants facing particularly high barriers to college. In a recent study, we investigated the effects of a decrease in Colorado college tuition on college application and enrollment behavior. Specifically, we used student-level data to analyze a law that granted in-state tuition to certain undocumented students residing in Colorado. We found an increase in the credit hours and persistence of newly enrolled and likely undocumented students in the period after the law was introduced.

DACA Enables Mobility, but its Uncertain Future Undermines Benefits for Recipients
By Erin R. Hamilton, Caitlin Patler, and Robin Savinar, UC Davis

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, implemented in 2012, granted a subset of undocumented youth temporary relief from deportation, as well as work authorization and other benefits. In a recent study, we analyzed both whether and how DACA impacted education and employment among undocumented immigrants in California. We found mixed effects. DACA enabled college for some, but discouraged it for others. DACA recipients perceived substantial occupational mobility, but for many, this was not reflected in movement out of the secondary labor market.