October 19, 2004

Revising Poverty Statistics

There seems to be a new understanding that poverty is becoming disproportionately a problem of the recently arrived. The large amounts of new immigrants coming to the US are driving down income statistics and masking real improvement among those who have been awhile.

Why not add a simple question to the income stats asking how long you've been in the country? It would allow researchers to track how incomes improve as immigrants integrate into the US economy. It would allow progress in resident incomes to show up even if an influx of poor immigrants swamps the overall income statistics. After all, if you're investing in new entrants who will get jobs and rapidly climb the economic ladder, their initial income statistic effect should not weigh as heavily as the poverty of a permanent underclass that has little mobility, year to year.

Posted by TMLutas at October 19, 2004 06:55 PM