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The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States

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  • George J. Borjas
  • Lawrence F. Katz

Abstract

This paper examines the evolution of the Mexican-born workforce in the United States using data drawn from the decennial U.S. Census throughout the entire 20th century. It is well known that there has been a rapid rise in Mexican immigration to the United States in recent years. Interestingly, the share of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. workforce declined steadily beginning in the 1920s before beginning to rise in the 1960s. It was not until 1980 that the relative number of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. workforce was at the 1920 level. The paper examines the trends in the relative skills and economic performance of Mexican immigrants, and contrasts this evolution with that experienced by other immigrants arriving in the United States during the period. The paper also examines the costs and benefits of this influx by examining how the Mexican influx has altered economic opportunities in the most affected labor markets and by discussing how the relative prices of goods and services produced by Mexican immigrants may have changed over time.

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Working Papers 11281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11281
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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