The Precarious Position of Latino Immigrants in the United States: A Comparative Analysis of Ethnosurvey Data

Douglas S. Massey, Jorge Durand, Karen A. Pren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

A majority of Mexican and Central Americans living in the United States today are undocumented or living in a marginal, temporary legal status. This article is a comparative analysis of how Mexican and non-Mexican Latino immigrants fare in the U.S. labor market. We show that despite higher levels of human capital and a higher class background among non-Mexican migrants, neither they nor Mexican migrants have fared very well in the United States. Over the past four decades, the real value of their wages has fallen across the board, and both Mexican and non-Mexican migrant workers experience wage penalties because they are in liminal legal categories. With Latinos now composing 17 percent of the U.S. population and 25 percent of births, the precariousness of their labor market position should be a great concern among those attending to the nation’s future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-109
Number of pages19
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume666
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences

Keywords

  • Central Americans
  • Mexicans
  • immigration
  • liminal legality
  • undocumented migrants
  • wages

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