Are People Really Going To Move From Clay County, KY To Wash Dishes In D.C.?

Or Boston? Or Austin, TX? From Pew (boldface mine):

Most of the United States’ 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants live in just 20 major metropolitan areas, with the largest populations in New York, Los Angeles and Houston, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data.

The analysis shows that the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population is highly concentrated, more so than the U.S. population overall. In 2014, the 20 metro areas with most unauthorized immigrants were home to 6.8 million of them, or 61% of the estimated nationwide total. By contrast, only 36% of the total U.S. population lived in those metro areas.

But the analysis also shows that unauthorized immigrants tend to live where other immigrants live. Among lawful immigrants – including naturalized citizens and noncitizens – 65% lived in those top metros….

The Census Bureau dataset used for this analysis does not separate cities from the larger metro areas that contain them in all cases. But such a distinction is possible for 11 of the top 20 metro areas. Within those areas, the cities with the largest unauthorized immigrant populations include New York City, with an estimated 525,000 unauthorized immigrants; Los Angeles, with an estimated 375,000; and Chicago, with an estimated 140,000. Other cities with available data are Miami (55,000), Denver (55,000), Philadelphia (50,000), Boston (35,000), San Francisco (35,000), Washington, D.C., (25,000) and Seattle (20,000).

Among the top 20 metro areas, only one city for which data were available – Phoenix – was home to a majority of the unauthorized immigrants in that metropolitan area, with about 140,000 out of a total 250,000. In the others, most of the unauthorized immigrants living in the metro area lived outside the borders of the largest city.

To deal with that last sentence first, suburbanites–white suburbanites–have been increasingly exposed to immigration, including illegal immigration. This is a massive shift, and probably leads to a lot of anti-immigrant, legal or undocumented, sentiment.

But let’s assume for the sake of argument that this isn’t steeped in bigotry (though I think much of the opposition is). What I don’t get it is how this is going to make the economy better for many Republican strongholds. If several million undocumented immigrants were deported, are they going to take those jobs? Because they’re going to have to move somewhere else–and I don’t see that happening. As the post title says, are people going to move from poor, rural counties to live and work in major metro areas? And, even if I had my way (e.g., $15/hour minimum wage, Medicare for all), these jobs still won’t pay that well, and will be hard jobs.

To date, when I look at the Census Bureau data on mobility, I don’t see any evidence for workers moving.

Maybe over the long term, workers will eventually move, and employers will increase wages, but over the short term, I don’t see who is going to fill those jobs.

Related: The UK government is admitting that they will have a very hard time filling the jobs EU immigrants perform.

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2 Responses to Are People Really Going To Move From Clay County, KY To Wash Dishes In D.C.?

  1. AndrewD says:

    We have a similar problem with Immigration in the UK, immigrants do jobs the locals do not want to do. One answer is, of course, forced or direction of labour.

  2. Darren says:

    In the UK, the overwhelming majority of immigrant laborers arrived legally, indicating that the anti-immigrant sentiment is motivated by racism or racism’s little brother, ethnocentrism – making even more threadbare the American excuse that the concern is only about “illegal” immigrants (let alone the Republican Regime’s wish to further restrict *legal* immigration).

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