January 2016

IZA DP No. 9668: Discouraged Immigrants and the Missing Pop in EPOP

published as: "21st Century Slowdown: The Historic Nature of Recent Declines in the Growth of the Immigrant Population in the United States", Migration Letters, July 2018

We address the impact of declining migration on the measurement of labor market health. We first document an historically significant decline in the growth rate of the U.S. foreign born population since 2000. A decomposition shows that nearly two-thirds of the decline can be attributed to declining pull factors in the U.S. Had this decline not occurred, there would have been approximately 7.2 million more immigrants present in the U.S. in 2013. Making a conservative assumption about the hypothetical likelihood of employment for these "Discouraged Immigrants," a recalculation of the Employment to Population Ratio reveals a 13% larger decline since 2000 than is shown when conventionally measured.