Social Sciences, Vol. 5, Pages 49: Did the Great Recession Downsize Immigrants and Native-Born Americans Differently? Unemployment Differentials by Nativity, Race and Gender from 2007 to 2013 in the U.S.

Research paper by Sharron Wang, Arthur Sakamoto

Indexed on: 28 Sep '16Published on: 14 Sep '16Published in: Social sciences (Basel, Switzerland)


We use data from the Current Population Survey from 2007 and 2013 to investigate demographic differentials in unemployment during the Great Recession in the U.S. Although our analysis is primarily exploratory and descriptive, our major research objective is to illuminate the unemployment differential between the foreign born and the native born. The findings indicate that during the height of the Great Recession, the foreign born had higher unemployment rates than the native born. However, this differential is statistically explained by their observed characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age and education. With the net of those variables and a few other demographic covariates, foreign born workers as an overall group actually had somewhat lower chances of being unemployed than native born workers. This finding is discussed in terms of the selectivity of immigrant workers and the possibility that they are somewhat more immediately dependent on having a job. After breaking down the foreign born into major racial/ethnic groups, the results suggest that foreign-born blacks and foreign-born Hispanics are particularly selective with the net of their observed characteristics. The possible sources of such differentials by race/ethnicity and by gender are discussed.