The Top 10 Performing Immigrant Groups in the US – Lessons Learned
by Mike Kimel
The Top 10 Performing Immigrant Groups in the US – Lessons Learned
First, I’d like to apologize. An earlier version of this post was taken down because I sent it with the wrong table. This version has the correct table, and I added a bit of verbage as well.
In my last post, I noted that that on aggregate, immigrants’ per capita income in the US was correlated with the GDP per capita in their native land. The following two graphs were generated:
The graph on the left shows that on aggregate, immigrants from richer countries do better in the US than immigrants from poorer countries. The graph on the right shows that the effect is magnified for immigrant groups which have been in the US for the longest.
In this post, I want to look at the top ten countries (for which data is available) ranked by earnings of a country’s immigrants to the US to see if there are obvious lessons to be learned:
The first thing to note is that most of the countries on the top ten list are relatively wealthy to start with. This make them examples of the rich stay rich, and not examples of the poor making good.
The second thing to notice is the heavy British presence on the list. Except for the Netherlands, which ranks tenth, every country on the list is either Britain, neighboring Britain, or was a British colony, or protectorate in the case of Israel. (It is worth noting that data on immigrants from New Zealand was not available from the Census database used in this post.) Put a different way, most of the countries whose immigrants perform very well in the US have acquired some aspects of British culture from the period in which Britain was the dominant world power.
But having British background is not enough. There are plenty of former British colonies in our data sample whose immigrants are not particularly successful in the US. Still, British skills and culture can be adapted and even improved upon by people who don’t share British ancestry. Therefore, it would seem like a useful exercise to figure out what it is about British culture that leads to success and to try it more widely. However, we live in an increasingly multi-cultural and politically correct age. Suggesting that people from around the world might fare better in life by adopting traditionally British customs is considered culturally insensitive, if not outright racist in many circles.
Fortunately, learning from the poor and downtrodden is still considered OK. On our top ten list, at first glance South Africa and India qualify as worthy of providing instruction. Plus, they seem to fit the poor people doing well theme, which is inspirational.
But a smidge of thought removes South Africa from favored status. South African immigrants to the US not only are not diverse, they are not even representative of the South African population, much less that of the rest of the world:
South African emigration to the US has been an overwhelmingly white phenomenon. According to the Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC, only 14% of South African immigrants – about 11 000 – are black.
At the extreme, think Elon Musk. But in general, it seems that the South African immigrants to the US are from relatively privileged backgrounds. Anecdotally, the South Africans I have met in the US tend to be extremely well educated. Many did not agree with Apartheid and left during that era, but they also don’t approve of the way South Africa has progressed since. Another thing I’ve noted is that many South African immigrants in the US are Ashkenazi.
In any case, removing South Africa leaves India. Here we are on firmer ground when it comes to maintaining vital anti-Imperialist cred. One of the things that stands about Indian immigrants in the US is that they tend to be extremely well educated. According to the Census figures, a third of Indian immigrants 25 and over have achieved a Bachelor’s degree, and 42.5% have a graduate or professional degree. However, according to the World Bank:
While more than 95 percent of children attend primary school, just 40 percent of Indian adolescents attend secondary school (Grades 9-12).
Unfortunately, the Census data does not tell us if Indian immigrants to the US arrived in the US with graduate degrees or obtained them in the US. Certainly, there are many examples of both. However, most Indian immigrants arrived since the year 2000, which would suggest that a substantial part of the education obtained by the average Indian immigrant was obtained in India itself. Thus, it would seem that Indian immigrants to the US come from a specific subgroup of the population of India, namely those who have the wherewithal to obtain an education.
Another interesting factor – Indian immigrant families have about 3.4 people in them. Assuming a high marriage rate, while it still results in more children than most other groups in the top 10, it is still below replacement level fertility. This would also differentiate Indian immigrants to the US from their counterparts who stayed in India.
Basically, when looking at the group as a whole – it tends to skew older and far more educated than the native born population. Employment levels are higher among these immigrant groups than for the native born population, except among the Irish and the Dutch who include many retirees. But from the data on arrival pre- year 2000, it would seem those retirees spent a sizable part of their work life in the US. The Israelis are a bit of an exception – with more of them on public assistance and larger families than the rest of the top ten; I believe some of that is probably due to the Orthodox families among the Israelis.
In conclusion, other than the tentative but generic recommendation that they seek out an education and don’t have kids before you can afford to raise, there isn’t much obvious to be here that can be applied to improve the lot of immigrants to the US.
If looking at the top group hasn’t helped, then maybe the bottom is the place to look. The next post in this series will focus on the bottom 10 group of immigrants to the US in terms of per capita income.
Data used in this post comes from two sources. The first is GDP per capita, by country, obtained from the World Bank. The post also uses information obtained from the Census Department’s 2014 American Community Survey. In particular, the post uses the 2014 per capita income of immigrants to the US by nation of origin. It also uses the percentage of the immigrants from a given country that have arrived in the US prior to the year 2000. That data is kind of unwieldy to find, but the starting point is here. To be clear, immigrants in this source are foreign born, which is to say first generation only. Only immigrants alive at the time of the survey are included.
As always, if you want my data, drop me a line at my first name (mike) dot my last name (kimel – that’s with one m, not two) at gmail dot com. Occasionally I get data requests six or seven years after a post. While I always try to comply with these requests, I reserve the right to change computers, have them stolen, or to drop dead if too much time has elapsed between this writing and a request for data occurs.
Recent previous posts on this topic:
Economic Outcomes of Immigrants v. Stay at Home
How Does Diversity Affect Economic Growth? A Look at Data on Immigration, Tax Rates and Real GDP per Capita
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Why does this bother me? Lot of reasons.
Here is a clip from the Rachel Maddow Show. It is about the Klan Act of 1871 and is pretty fascinating in itself.
At about the 9 minute mark, Maddow holds up the Klan newspaper. People should take a look at the front page article of that paper.
KKK gains new prominence in 2016 election, in more ways than one
I get your drift and I am equally if not more so put off by this constant barrage of what is being passed off as “data” having something to do with immigration, immigrants and the possible affect on economic outcomes. It brings forth memories of other publications, such as The Bell Curve by Herrnstein and Murray, all seeking to find some trend in their data supporting a thesis concerning the superiority of certain races and/or cultures over others. It’s worth noting what Karl Pearson, the man who had virtually invented correlation statistical methodology, had to say about Jewish immigration into England. In 1925 Pearson opposed (in the first issue of the journal Annals of Eugenics which he founded) Pearson alleged that these immigrants “…will develop into a parasitic race. Taken on the average, and regarding both sexes, this alien Jewish population is somewhat inferior physically and mentally to the native population.”
And here is an alternate link to the one that EM tried to provide, but is far more direct in regards to the publication of “news” about the races and immigrants. It’s got a unique perspective, but they approve of Donald Trump. http://kkk.bz/?page_id=493 That’s the subscription page to The Crusader, an apt title for their point of view.
And a link to the Maddow clip, http://www.politicususa.com/tag/ku-klux-klan-act-of-1871
I’d say by the numbers, the immigrant groups noted in this post actually fit with a completely different, and much more beautiful piece of poetry:
There is no doubt the top ten list provided in the post has collectively contributed to the benefit of ourselves and our posterity.
As to the wretched refuse – I would never use that term. But I will have other posts on this topic and perhaps you should Emma Lazarus for groups that have not contributed to domestic tranquility or promoted the general Welfare. In fact, some have come to these shores with the specific intent of breathing free by persecuting some of the same folks they persecuted before they left home in the first place.
You are confusing me with someone else. On an extraordinarily busy week for me, I have three posts. Usually one or two The constant barrage is coming from other quarters but I imagine you agree with it.
“You are confusing me with someone else.” M. Kimel
No Mike, there’s no confusion unless you include the use of statistical methods to support an obnoxious idea, one that has been circulating around corners for several decades. You’re using correlation measures in an attempt, it certainly seems, to compare cultural/immigrant groups on how they affect economic outcomes. In short I find that obnoxious. You’re isolating two independent variables and measuring them for comparison purposes in regards to macro-economic performance.
And, yes Mike, you’ve posted a string of articles on this subject over the past two months. Press the little link button (Tags: Mike Kimel) if you’ve forgotten that fact. Or just explain what you’ve been getting at.
This is all very interesting and well written, but I wonder, is it relevant?
I would think the main event would be simply the aggregate increase in US population due to current immigration policy, and it’s effects on the working class of the United States in its entirety. Post-1970 immigration has increased the US population by almost 100 million over what it would have been had pre-1965 policies been maintained (look up “demographic momentum” on wikipedia). We are looking at passing a half billion by 2040, and likely passing a billion before the end of the century and still rising rapidly.
Classical and Keynesian economics would predict that this massive forced population increase will result in steadily falling living standards for the many and rising profits for the few. Neo-Liberal economics would predict that massive population increases will so boost economic growth that it is inevitable that living standards will rise.
But regardless, it would seem to me that focusing on which recent immigrant groups do relatively better and which do relatively worse is at best secondary, Like worrying about who is in steerage and who is in second class when the Titanic is sinking…
There is a long forgotten statistical study —- the number of beans in a jar. The researchers added all the guesses and divided by the large number of participants. That mean was within 1% of the actual number of beans. They included different shapes of jars with differing accuracy.
Mike, IMHO, is overly concentrating on distinguishing differences based on the shape of the jars.
Maybe it is a good time to read Mario Cum0o’s speech which came in answer to Reagan’s “Shining City on a Hill.” Some excerpts:
“Maybe, maybe, Mr. President, if you visited some more places; maybe if you went to Appalachia where some people still live in sheds; maybe if you went to Lackawanna where thousands of unemployed steel workers wonder why we subsidized foreign steel. Maybe — Maybe, Mr. President, if you stopped in at a shelter in Chicago and spoke to the homeless there; maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile we couldn’t afford to use.
Maybe — Maybe, Mr. President. But I’m afraid not. Because the truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that this is how we were warned it would be. President Reagan told us from the very beginning that he believed in a kind of social Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. “Government can’t do everything,” we were told, so it should settle for taking care of the strong and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest. Make the rich richer, and what falls from the table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class.
You know, the Republicans called it “trickle-down” when Hoover tried it. Now they call it “supply side.”
“We believe in a government strong enough to use words like “love” and “compassion” and smart enough to convert our noblest aspirations into practical realities.
We believe in encouraging the talented, but we believe that while survival of the fittest may be a good working description of the process of evolution, a government of humans should elevate itself to a higher order.
We — Our — Our government — Our government should be able to rise to the level where it can fill the gaps that are left by chance or by a wisdom we don’t fully understand. We would rather have laws written by the patron of this great city, the man called the “world’s most sincere Democrat,” St. Francis of Assisi, than laws written by Darwin.” http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mariocuomo1984dnc.htm
I think there is more to it than parsing who will be allowed into the shining city and who will have to leave.
Possible uses for telling the difference between which groups do well and which do poorly:
1. determining which immigrant groups should be more welcome in the US
2. determining how to make the immigrant groups that don’t do well do better
Despite the brickbats from those who infer that I am writing mostly about 1, I am mostly writing about 2. (I do think not think 1 should be off the table, mind you.) Additionally, if you figure out why some immigrant groups do well and some do poorly, perhaps the same info could tell us why some native born groups don’t do well either. I am not comfortable with the idea that a large part of society seems to be a permanent underclass. If it can be alleviated, it should be. But without opening our eyes, we cannot figure out what the figure is, much less how to solve it.
Since I am clearly not getting the message, now would be a great time to note that historically Dan and Run have been encouraging of new material, particularly if it is clear, concise and well supported by data. I would encourage you to make the case as to how it should be done and if you did so, I would encourage them to publish it. (It has happened before so this is not merely a theoretical statement.) As a starting point, feel free to use the data I obtained from the Census and the World Bank. I am always happy to share with anyone who drops me a line. (My email address is near the bottom of the main post.) Or use a different data set. Alternatively, if you have suggestions let me know though I don’t guarantee I will follow them.
To be very clear – I personally believe we should be selective about who we let into the country, however, once they are legally in, well, they are in. A citizen is a citizen is a citizen. That’s going back to the preamble to the Constitution I quoted above. Once someone is legally here, they are part of “We the People.”
And in an era of limited resources, I believe, as stated in the preamble, that our first allegiance is to our fellow We the People. Others come second. Thus, I prefer to provide assistance to a second generation (name group of whatever background) than to spend resources assimilating a first generation (name whatever immigrant group).
Also, understanding who succeeds and who fails is important if we want as many people as possible to succeed. If we have something resembling a permanent underclass, and it strongly correlates with group X and group Y and group Z, but we have immigrants from group A that succeed, perhaps there are lessons to be learned from group A that can make X and Y and Z succeed. But without being willing to look at the data and ask the questions, all we have is failure.
Just to be clear, the preamble was written to explain why the change from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution. It was a more perfect union of states it was concerned with and not of people. It was a better document than the Articles of Confederation explaining why a Union and what it was supposed to come out of it.
A different topic. If you read Joel Garreau “Three Hundred Million and Counting,” the message in it is different groups arriving as immigrants assimilate into society in a generation or two. As far as room for them, today we pretty much live on 5% of the total land mass in the US today. In terms of resource Paul Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of The Great Powers makes the point that resources spent on Defense and war at the expense of domestic productivity results in nations slipping from Tier 1 powers to lesser tiers. In order words, the funding or resource does exist. We are also in an era when the country is rapidly aging. While not to the same extent as China, Europe, or Russia; our population is growing older. We need an influx on immigrants to keep the median age lower.
” I personally believe we should be selective about who we let into the country,….” Mike Kimel
The issue, Mike, is how do we make such selections? It’s fortunate for all of us that that concept has been repeatedly defeated over the many generations since the earliest settlers arrived in what is now the U.S.A. Unfortunately many of us just as repeatedly continue to promote the line that some immigrants should be more, or less, welcome than are others. You seem to think that you’re use of numerical calculations provides support for your principles of social eugenics. As noted in my earlier comment, none other than Karl Pearson, who knew a thing or two about correlational analyses, had suggested in print and in the loud voice of repetition that the Jews of eastern Europe, who were immigrating into his home land at the time, were a parasitic blight on England and should be limited. No Mike, statistics don’t lie, but statisticians do. By intent or by ignorance.
Here in good old America we have witnessed, over many generations, the same kind of fears from those fortunate enough to be second, third and fourth generations. In the late 19th century the Irish were a problem. Then came the dirty, unwashed and unwanted Italians. Then we even let in Jews. God only knows the social and economic chaos that would cause. Those Chinese in the old West weren’t of any good use once the railroads were built, unless you wanted your clothes laundered. And the Mexicans, what are we to do with the Mexicans. Possibly we can use the excess Mexicans to settle the southwest. Oh, I forgot they had already done that well before Texas, Arizona and Sherrif Arpaio were featured parts of the landscape.
Now if we could only figure out a way to cull out the riffraff we could create a greater U.S.of A. The question is how do we do that in a truly unbiased and effective manner. I live in NYC and would prefer to have a lot fewer people crowding into the place, but it seems that anyone with $500,000 to invest can get a green card with little trouble. It’s still too damn crowded here. Your use of numbers is not going to help reach an unbiased answer to a question that need not be asked. I suspect that Squanto’s descendants aren’t so pleased with his choices.
We already engage in what you call social eugenics both by omission and commission.
By commission….there are more people who would like to come to the US than we allow in. Our government sets limits based on nationality. The ratios it selected of people from country X v. people from country Y are artificially. Tweaking the ratio up or down from its current level is no more and no less social eugenics than the current ratio.
More – we specifically try to keep out people based on moral turpitude. If you’ve been convicted of certain crimes (which you won’t be, in some countries where those crimes are socially acceptable) we try to keep you out.
But there’s social eugenics by omission too… you mentioned laws against Jews in the past. What about the present? Pew did a survey on anti-Semitism throughout the world. What happens if you increase the percentage of immigrants from anti-Semitic countries? Do those immigrants abandon those beliefs upon entry into the country? The French experience would point to the answer being no. Sure, there are white supremacists in the US whose ancestry goes back to the Mayflower, but is that a reason to import people who believe that killing Jews is a good thing? If you are tempted to say it isn’t a concern for you, in keeping with the idea that we are doing quotes in this thread, remember how Reverend Niemoller’s ends: “Then they came for me – and there was nobody left to speak for me.”
I’ve said before…. you can side with the thug or you can side with his victim. You cannot do both. Alternatively, you can side with the anti-Semite or you can side with the Jewish guy. Whether you side by commission or by omission, as Neimoller told us, is irrelevant in the end.
Jack – a follow up.
Note – of course, not everyone from a country that is overwhelmingy anti-Semitic is themselves an anti-Semite. But if you make an attempt to weed out anti-Semites, then that’s some more of that social eugenics (and by commission this time) of which you disapprove.
Well, at least all those Israeli immigrants finally will learn why they’re so successful in this country: Israel was a British protectorate!
And all those Middle Eastern immigrants in metro Detroit who you see carrying shopping bags from Nordstrom and Saks and Von Maur at the high-end malls during the holiday season—and it’s not the celebration-of-the-end-of-Ramadan holiday season that I’m talking about—will be a bit confused that there is a blogger on a liberal/alt-right economics and political blog who makes the point that they aren’t successful enough here to have merited admission as immigrants. Using hard data!
Of course, the answer to why some immigrant groups, as groups, do better than others in this country isn’t rocket science. Nor, as this series of posts illustrates exquisitely, is it economics.
It’s that dating back to the 19th century, immigrant groups of various ethnicities (and I count Jews as an ethnic group here, for this purpose) have massive networking organizations, formal and informal, in which they hire in their own small businesses recent immigrants of their own ethnicity, who learn the business and then strike out on their own.
Thus, the high rate of Greek-American restaurant owners, the high rate of Jewish and Russian-American furriers in earlier eras, and of Jewish-American clothing manufacturers, clothiers and jewelers, the high rate of Chinese-American-owned dry cleaners and restaurants, etc., etc., etc.
This post and this series are ridiculous, not just because of the vile propaganda—and that is what it is—but also because of the ever-shifting justifications for it, after it’s pointed out by commenters that the data never seems to actually be as advertised. That is, it uses a data set that does not and usually cannot make its advertised point.
Even run gets this now.
Oh, meant to add that I eagerly await the next post, which will change the point that was supposed to be made in this one.
If past is prologue. As it has been time and again now.
I haven’t gotten around to ordering George Borjas’ new book but I understand that the title comes from a statement in German that translates as “we wanted workers but we got people instead.” If the goal is to get workers, which I take it from your comment is what you feel the country needs, select for and give incentives for workers and deselect for and give disincentives to people who aren’t and/or won’t become workers. If the need is in the present as you imply, then select for people who will be workers now, not people who cannot assimilate to become workers today but whose children or grandchildren will be workers.
If you read Garreau’s piece; you would know what I mean. The issue is birth rate.
I might add that except for France in the 10 ten list of immigrants by per capita incomes in the US (for those immigrating since 2000), they are all English speaking countries — including the Netherlands. If you’ve ever been to the Netherlands they are 99% as well versed in speaking, reading, and writing in English as the British.
Those immigrants from Israel might also not be as proficient in English, depending on whether they were from Eastern European ancestry or not. I’ve never been to Israel so my information is 2nd hand… those that I know who have immigrated from Israel or who have visited on extended business operations over the years have told me that they never met an Israeli who wasn’t proficient in at least speaking English fluently
Now part of this is that they work and visit in major cities with businesses that do business with US company’s. But they also dine out, shop, and go to entertainment spots, and so I’m told that the service people they meet in those locations also speak fluent English. Some speak with a foreign accent and some speak with a British accent … which indicates they were taught British English, just as those in Germany, and the Netherlands wee taught British English from an early age.
It is thus more likely that those who speak read, and write English fluently in the first place will also be those that are most inclined to immigrate with higher incomes for perhaps better opportunities in business and jobs than in their native countries.
In Hong Kong (which I’ve visited several times for extended periods (work related in China proper) I noted that everybody with a middle income job and higher are English proficient .. many with nearly no foreign accent at all — i.e. they speak British English. Those in the lower end service jobs all understand English very well, but many don’t speak it well or with heavy accents. This is more the case with the younger (late teens, early 20’s) with low end service jobs — -hospitality, taxi drivers, restaurants grocery stores, small retail shop clerks. I presume but do not know that this has something to do with the change in government since the British pulled out or it may be that the lower skilled service people were not given the same level or degree of education..
The English proficient immigrants are far more likely to be employed faster and in higher income jobs for example. They are in fact far more likely to have a job already waiting for them either as a business associate of a former immigrant or native born American, or in an American based corporation (which may or may not have done or do business in the country from which the immigrant emigrated).
The Europeans and European heritage countries are also far more likely to have a higher normal level of education and/or technical educations as well… owing to these nations long government commitment to free and excellent public education and Universities
For example I was recently reviewing University of Munich which is one of the finest research universities in Europe (for CV research reasons). Tuition and mandatory fees were just reduced again by court order (because some higher tuition the University had implemented violated national law) … which is an incredibly low tuition + fees by American standards … something on the order of less than 300 EU per Semester for lower income students.
If you want America to ever be “great again” provide every legal resident with a virtually free high quality education through all levels. and every resident, legal or not, a free high quality education through at least high school if not equivalent of 2 years college.. .
Thanks for pointing to that essay. I had read it years ago, and it was worth a re-read. The crux of that essay, at least where this post is concerned, seems to be this:
This post looks at the top ten immigrants by earning per capita in the US, and if you look at those top ten, it looks like Garreau makes sense. But my next post on this topic looks at the botom ten groups.
Take Somali immigrants – the poorest performing immigrant group to the US by per capita income. They tend to be employed at rates below the native born. They are also less educated, earn less, are far more likely to be on public assistance and more likely to be disabled than the native born public. If the goal of immigration is as Garreau states, then some groups are exacerbating the problem Garreau identifies, not fixing them.
For the first time in a while, you’ve posted a comment with which I have few disagreements. Thank you.
“Our government sets limits based on nationality. The ratios it selected of people from country X v. people from country Y are artificially. Tweaking the ratio up or down from its current level is no more and no less social eugenics than the current ratio.” Kimel
Straight from the U.S.C.I.S. web site: https://www.uscis.gov/tools/glossary/preference-system-immigration-act-1990
Preference System(Immigration Act of 1990)
“The nine categories since fiscal year 1992 among which the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant preference visas are distributed. The family-sponsored preferences are: 1) unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; 2) spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent resident aliens; 3) married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; 4) brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. The employment-based preferences are: 1) priority workers (persons of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers); 2) professionals with advanced degrees or aliens with exceptional ability; 3) skilled workers, professionals (without advanced degrees), and needed unskilled workers; 4) special immigrants; and 5) employment creation immigrants (investors).”
The category of Special Immigrants allows for people from Afghanistan and Iraq who worked for the US Armed Forces or US Govt. in some ways. I like that last one, (investors). That’s a group you might like. If you’ve got enough cash your in. Like Flynn?? No, he claimed to be broke when he got here and made good money in Hollywood, but no one could have predicted that at the time.
In short there is no country of origin quota in the Immigration Act of 1990. There are a set of preferences which are more focused on people who already have a familial connection to US citizens, but even that preference is limited to small percentages of the whole body of immigrants in a given year. And it is the only preference cited in the Act that might result in some bias by country because of past similar bias resulting in a higher percentage of citizens from specific countries.
To be more to the point Mike, I wasn’t focusing just on Spearman’s insensitivity to Jews in early 20th Century England. I was pointing out that even with all of his education and his obvious acumen with numerical calculations and statistics, he got it wrong!!! Jews did not become parasites on the English economy. He was letting his prejudices get ahead of his calculations.
Correlation does not prove prove causation. It’s the most basic teaching in that area of statistical instruction. In addition to which you’re focused on too few potential variables as potentially related to one extremely complex variable. Try looking at poverty. It probably has a higher coefficient of correlation between generations than any other cultural characteristic. While you’re trying to figure out which cultural group will best improve our American character keep in mind that those who are successful in there country of origin are not likely to need to immigrate to any other place.
This country, our country, has always let in the most down trodden of peoples, the ones that have to go to a new place in hope of finding a better life. They were good for America because they did either the nastiest, most dangerous work, and for the lowest wages. Or they settled into the most remote parts of our country for a wide variety of reasons. That’s what immigration is all about Mike. The second wave of Mexicans, those whose ancestors didn’t settle the south west when Spain ruled their country) were crop pickers. California farms needed them. They were migrants at first, but they made better of themselves in their second and third generations. Other countries sent their needy. The Irish weren’t welcome when they showed up after the Potato Famine. Then the Italians weren’t welcomed when they came in to help build the structures. As for the Jews, they made their way here after WW I and II because Europe was so nice to them and made them feel so at home. And no, they weren’t all bankers. Maybe we should limit immigration to those people from Atlantis and Shangri-La.
The fact the someone did a poor job of analyzing something in the past and reached erroneous conclusions is not a good reason to avoid trying to do a better job of it today. If it was, we would still be living in caves. Furthermore, we have better data and better tools today. Tomorrow, our data and tools will be even better. You work with what you have.
As to bringing in bankers – its been a few years but I’ve had plenty of posts on banking and finance. I’ve noted that finance is one of those areas where personal income of a person in the profession can diverge significantly from social welfare as a result of negative externalities, kind of like with attorneys or criminals. That isn’t true of all of bankers, or even all attorneys, but it is not the sort of conclusion that suggests we are short on investment bankers in this country.
Also, you are making several unsupported assumptions about Shangri-La which are in conflict with the known facts about the place and its people. The area is not know for its industry, and the primary skill of its people (i.e., living for one heck of a long time) only actually seems to work while they are in Shangri-La itself. Additionally, while the sample of people from the country is too small to show up in the Census data I am using, nearby (I assume it is nearby) Nepal makes an appearance in my next post on this topic. If Shangri-Laians (rhymes with “hungry lions”) are anything like the Nepalese, perhaps you will spot your error when you read that post.
“The fact the someone did a poor job of analyzing something in the past and reached erroneous conclusions is not a good reason to avoid trying to do a better job of it today.” Kimel
You’re missing the point. I assume you’re doing that deliberately and that you are intent on pursuing the eugenic argument to some conclusion, which will certainly not be a logical conclusion. What about your feeble comparisons wherein your myopic focus is on the economic accomplishments of various cultural groups and how that might be useful in determining immigration policy? What about your erroneous claim that US immigration policy currently uses country of origin to allot visas permanent residency status? What about your glossing over the point that successful nationals from cultures (or is that countries) with high performing economies aren’t usually looking to become immigrants to the US?
Poverty is an underlying factor in poor performance, much more so than are cultural traits and characteristics. And it’s the impoverished that want to emigrate out of where they are. That’s what makes them potential immigrants. That’s what has always motivated immigration since the dawn of man. You want successful citizens from successful cultures to immigrate to the US. Why should they?
The point I was attempting to make was the resources are there to absorb people. The land is there and the money is there to improves the present people economically challenges and those who are admitted. It is just misapplied.
Should we be adding more H1B visas when workers at the upper levels are struggling in the prime age groups? Probably not.
First, you choose which parts of my post to which to respond. I choose which parts of your comments to which to respond. You have not responded to the parts of my post that I found most important and I have not berrated you for it.
I would say that is common mistake. For example, it is currently being made by the folks at State Department who issue Visas. See here:
And then there’s this:
Go back a few posts. Some decades ago, 70% of the immigrants to this country came from three countries, two of which occupy the 1st and 3rd spot in the table of successful immigrants you see in this post. We reserved those spots for them and they came. What changed? Well, we no longer reserve those spots for them.
As long as you keep ‘begging the question’ you’ll keep having a problem convincing some of us that your analysis has merit, Mike:-)
Which question am I begging? In this post, I am noting characteristics of the more successful immigrant groups. As stated in the post, in the next post, I will note characteristics of the least successful immigrant groups. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that in the post after that, I will try to come up with a more systematic set of rules for success or failure on coming to America. Nor does it it take a genius to figure out that I want to see if those same rules apply more broadly outside the US.
There is a difference between taking one step at a time and begging the question. I have a pretty good idea of what the data I have is going to show. There is some more data that I am trying to find – I have a pretty good idea of what it will show as well, assuming I can find it. Of course, I can be wrong and the data may surprise me, but so far, it hasn’t been the case. I have laid out my case in broad strokes, but now I am trying to let the data speak for itself. If it turns out the data shows something different than I expect, then I will change my mind. I hope if the data shows something different than you are comfortable with, you will do the same.
Since you started your series claiming an a priori epistemic axiom for ‘success’ any proving that is ‘begging the question’, Mike.
Make your case outside your assumption and I won’t disagree. If you restrict everything to your premise then I possibly won’t.
I started this series noting that cultures matter and they persist over time and space. I used the case of the Irish v. the Germans and the British, and the ratio of scientists v. writers. I am now demonstrating that cultures imported into this country have an economic impact on how well people from those cultures do when they come to the US.
The only restriction I am placing on the argument is stated in the sentence before. Prove me wrong by proving something I wrote (not something someone is imagining I wrote, or the one thing I prefaced in another post with “assume for this post”) is wrong. On another thread you were insisting this is just a spurious correlation and I promised to keep piling up the coincidences. If you have another argument that I am wrong, feel free to make it. Show me that there is no correlation between cultures and how well people do in the US. Show me some other data. If I am wrong, there should be many ways to prove it.
Run…., None of what I’ve said has been addressed at your comments in this thread. My apologies if it seemed otherwise. And I agree with you regarding the H1B visa program which has been reported as being abused by corporate America for the purpose of lowering compensation levels of tech workers.
“Prove me wrong by proving something I wrote (not something someone is imagining I wrote, or the one thing I prefaced in another post with “assume for this post”) is wrong.” M. Kimel
I’ve criticized the two primary elements of your posts on the topic of cultural traits and immigration. I’ll repeat in summarized fashion here. First, your use of statistical analysis is wrong in several ways and you’ve only replied that you’re using statistical tools which are some how better than what Pearson had used.
I wasn’t commenting on the quality of Pearson’s statistics. BTW, I know I wrote Spearman several times. That was an error on my part partly brought on by frustration with the argument. I was trying to draw your attention to how easily the tools begin to take on an importance beyond their analytic intention.
In your case you have too few independent variables for a regression analysis of a very complex dependent variable, economic performance. Also, you see some value in a comparative analysis of a country of origin’s ratio of scientists to writers to the success of their countrymen as immigrants to this country. That is almost bizarre. What about poverty and literacy? Do those features of those same nations play no part in your analyses? The difficulty in focusing a criticism on your thesis is the unwieldiness of the assumptions you make.
“Some decades ago, 70% of the immigrants to this country came from three countries, two of which occupy the 1st and 3rd spot in the table of successful immigrants you see in this post. We reserved those spots for them and they came. What changed? Well, we no longer reserve those spots for them.” Kimel
The English and the Irish?? Obviously the Irish came in large numbers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Poverty and starvation were strong motivators. And they were none too welcome when they got here. The English had the advantage of being white and speaking the mother tongue and so were warmly welcome into a racist culture. We no longer reserve those spots because it became socially problematic for our government to continue to suggest that white, English speaking peoples were more welcome than any others. Even the Italians could find fault with that.
“Show me that there is no correlation between cultures and how well people do in the US.” Kimel
There is no need to address that correlation until you provide some evidence that there is a causative relationship between the two. And if it could be shown in some convincing manner that particular cultural traits or characteristics are interactive with good citizenship some means of measuring those traits and characteristics would have to be devised. The Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries had many of the world’s leading scientists as their citizens. They also had Hitler and his acolytes. And until Hitler came to power those scientists seemed to have little interest in leaving their homeland and becoming immigrants.
How far back do we then measure the cultural characteristics of other nationalities in this new immigration paradigm? Do the Greeks get credit for Aristotle and Plato? Do the Italians get credit for Da Vinci and the greatness of the Roman Empire? Africa had Timbuktu, but that continent had been under siege by various European states for so long in recent history to have been nearly culturally bankrupt by the invasion. Does accomplishment in the face of adversity on a national scale count?
“If I am wrong, there should be many ways to prove it.” Kimel
If this is your attempt at more scientific immigration policy, we don’t have to prove you wrong. You have to prove your case and in a way that makes it impervious to the criticisms that have been given.
It is not my analysis and you have yet to prove the direction the stats point to is incorrect. It is a direction Mike is pointing to and not a conclusion. You and the others wish to make it a conclusion before the statistical analysis is complete. It is that which I object to and if you knew LSS, you and the other critics would know this.
I didn’t state any where that I used better statistical tools than Pearson. I used the term tools, not statistical tools. (I am trying to be precise – why does everyone read more into what I am writing than what am stating?) For the purposes of the posts I have been writing, the better tools are better data and Excel (with one foray into R).
As to the rest of what you wrote, statistics cannot prove anything. (It can do a pretty good job of disproving something though.) What it can do is point to a lot of correlations. One correlation just happens. What you look for is a pattern.
For instance, when I pointed out in one post that from the 1920s to 1965 much of the immigration to the US came from the Ireland, Germany and Britain – three countries with strong records of accomplishments. In comments, people told me that assuming the origin of immigrants could have some effect on the country’s economy was some sort of racist idea and far from the truth. So then I had a post looking at how immigration affected growth pre and post 1965. By coincidence, the regression showed what my story line predicted.
This post continues along a similar theme. It turns out that people who come here from cultures very similar to our own tend to occupy most of the top ten slots when ranked by per capita income in this country. Again – by coincidence, it matches my story. I cannot prove anything. But I can keep piling on the coincidences. And I intend to do so. The next post in this series goes up in a few hours.
After a while, I believe I will be able to show (by shear coincidence, of course) that my story line is supported by a fair number of data sets sliced and diced a fair number of ways. I also believe will show that alternative story lines are contradicted by data of various sorts. That is the closest I can get to a proof. I hope to keep piling on the coincidences. Of course, if I stumble on a certain set of data that contradicts my story line, I will show that too. After all, my primary motivation in writing these posts is to understand the world. I’m hoping that’s your primary motivation in reading them.