In recent years, researchers have concentrated on discussing the median household income as an indicator of success in relation to the development of the metropolitan areas’ economies. The other factor which is discussed as influencing the progress of the U.S. metropolitan areas is the factor of immigration because its rates increase annually (Card 2; Weir, Pindus and Wial 12). In this context, immigration is also discussed as a factor that can influence changes in the median household income numbers (Painter and Yu 1165).
However, there are debates in the scholar literature on the role of immigration in affecting the metropolitan areas’ economies. In these debates, the focus is on the median household income, and the positive and negative impacts are discussed. As a result, there are three important perspectives from which it is possible to discuss the correlation between immigration and observed changes in the median household income.
The first perspective is the discussion of the idea that the increased immigration in the U.S. metropolitan areas contributes to rising the median household income numbers. According to Painter and Yu, “there is little evidence that immigrants do worse than native-born households that migrate” within the United States (Painter and Yu 1163). Furthermore, the researchers state that those immigrants living in “crowded conditions or having multiple workers in the household have higher homeownership rates than similar native-born households” (Painter and Yu 1163).
In addition, young immigrants are “more successful in attaining homeownership” than native-born residents of the metropolitan areas (Painter and Yu 1163). In this case, the attainment of homeownership by immigrants demonstrates that the immigrants’ “residential assimilation” is realized in the context of increasing or actively developing economies (Painter and Yu 1164).
While focusing on the increases of the median household income in the metropolitan areas, it is possible to state that the reason for these increases is the high percentage of immigrants in these areas. Thus, immigrants are discussed as having all opportunities to attain homeownership and influence the median household income numbers because foreign-born residents represent the largest part of the working population and of all employees in the U.S. metropolitan areas (Hanson 27).
Consequently, these immigrants affect the changes in the cities’ economies directly, while addressing the labor demand and while working and proposing services for minimal wages and fees (Painter and Yu 1163; Weir, Pindus and Wial 58). Following the argument discussed by Hanson in his article, the phenomenon of immigration provides significant benefits for the United States regarding the improvement of the large cities’ economies (Hanson 26).
Hanson claims that the ineffective “immigration policy affects the pace of innovation in the U.S. economy, the supply of labor by high-skilled workers, the ability of regional economies to adjust to business cycle fluctuation” (Hanson 25). As a result, the U.S. government should change the immigration policy in order to use the benefits associated with expected increases in flows of immigrants.
The second group of researchers discusses the changes in immigration rates and household incomes as partially connected. Weir, Pindus and Wial are inclined to state that different businesses begin to develop in metropolitan areas where the high rates of immigrants from the Latin America are observed in contrast to the cities where the high rates of immigrants from Asian countries are observed (Weir, Pindus and Wial 112). Therefore, it is possible to speak about noticeable changes in the metropolitan areas’ economies (Hanson 28). If the number of immigrants increases in the metropolitan areas, the city needs to provide new dwellers with more jobs and resources (Weir, Pindus and Wial 114).
However, the economies of many metropolitan areas do not allow taking active actions in order to address the flows of immigrants that increase significantly each year. As a result, the changes in the household income can be discussed only as indirect results of the immigration process (Hanson 27). Those researchers who do not state directly that immigration leads to increases in the median household income pay more attention to the fact that the typical households or incomes of immigrants in such metropolitan areas as New York, Chicago, and Atlanta often exceed the rate of inflation in these areas (Painter and Yu 1163; Weir, Pindus and Wial 116).
This fact supports the idea that the household income of immigrants can double the income of native-born residents living in these areas because of differences in occupations, and the role of immigrants in influencing the median household income can be discussed as more important in comparison with the role of native-born dwellers in affecting the changes in the cities’ economies.
The third group of researchers state that the increased immigration can lead to decreasing the economic standards in the metropolitan areas, and as a result, the median household income numbers remain to be unchanged under the impact of immigration. According to conclusions made by Mandelman and Zlate, immigrants usually occupy the lowest job positions in the metropolitan areas, and they do not participate in those business cycles that influence positive changes in the cities’ economies (Mandelman and Zlate 196).
Instead, increases in immigration flows can lead to changing the economic balance in the region which is associated with rates of employment and wages, and the dwellers’ household income can be affected negatively (Mandelman and Zlate 198). In his research of 2009, Card states that the “U.S. wage inequality” is one of the most important characteristics to describe changes in immigrants’ incomes (Card 3). In contrast, Hanson notes that the wage inequality decreased significantly, and today the increased immigration should be discussed as a positive factor to make the economies in cities develop (Hanson 26). Thus, the relationship between immigration rates and the median household income is rather positive than negative.
Immigrants play the important role in developing the economies of the metropolitan areas because the constantly increasing rates of immigrants of different origins contribute to changing the economic scales in cities. Immigration is discussed as leading to more economic disparities and differences in wages in the metropolitan areas (Painter and Yu 1163). However, there are also positive changes in relation to such economic measures as the median household income because different ethnic groups build different communities in metropolitan areas that affect the cities’ economies directly.
From this perspective, the businesses of the immigrants for the Asian countries are discussed as more profitable as the businesses of immigrants from the Latin America (Weir, Pindus and Wial 116). This fact influences the discussion of changes in the metropolitan areas’ economies with the focus on the median household income (Hanson 27). From this point, the increased rates of immigrants from many countries contribute to changes in the median household income numbers in the United States’ metropolitan areas, and these changes often support the idea of the positive correlation between the immigrant trends and the median household income.
Card, David. “Immigration and Inequality”. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings 99.2 (2009): 1-21. Print.
Hanson, Gordon. “Immigration and Economic Growth”. Cato Journal 32.1 (2012): 25-37. Print.
Mandelman, Federico, and Andrei Zlate. “Immigration, Remittances and Business Cycles”. Journal of Monetary Economics 59.2 (2012): 196–213. Print.
Painter, Gary, and Zhou Yu. “Leaving Gateway Metropolitan Areas in the United States: Immigrants and the Housing Market”. Urban Studies 45.5-6 (2008): 1163-1191. Print.
Weir, Margaret, Nancy Pindus, and Howard Wial. Urban and Regional Policy and Its Effects: Building Resilient Regions. New York: Brookings Institution Press, 2012. Print.