Cost of Being a Mexican Immigrant and Being a Mexican Non-Citizen

Isao Takei, Texas A&M University
Jing Li, University of Texas at Austin

We examine hourly wage differences across different groups of Mexican-origin workers. First, we assess the cost of foreign-born status by comparing the hourly wages of Mexican immigrant workers with those of native-born Mexican American workers. Second, we assess the cost of non-citizenship status by comparing the hourly wages of non-citizens with those of Mexican-born naturalized citizens. We also seek to determine if these costs are greater in California than in Texas. Data from the 2000 5% PUMS are used to conduct the analysis. The results from multiple regression analyzes reveal that being an immigrant, particularly a non-citizen immigrant, is associated with lower hourly wages, especially in California. Thus, Mexican-origin workers, especially those in California, bear dual costs for being foreign-born and not being naturalized citizens. Furthermore, our focus on length of U.S. residence reveals that these costs are greater for those who arrived after 1980, especially in California.

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Presented in Session 165: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Economics