The effects of immigration on low-skilled native workers in the U.S. is both an active area of research among academics and a critical component of policy discussions of the costs and benefits of immigration policies. In a new study, Research Affiliate Giovanni Peri quantifies the effects of immigration on wages and poverty rates of native workers in the U.S. over the past two decades.
This project analyzes the wage effects of immigrants on native U.S. workers at the national, state and city level, and quantifies the consequences of these wage effects on the poverty rates of native families. Findings show that for all plausible parameter values there is essentially no effect of immigration on native poverty rates at the national level. At the local level, only the most extreme estimates show non-trivial effects of immigration on poverty. Overall, even the largest local effects of immigration have very little correlation with observed changes in poverty rates over the past 20 years.