How Does Immigration Affect the United States?

by Jeffrey Whitten

Immigration has risen in the United States and is at its highest since the 1930s. It is a hotly debated political issue, and according to Federal Reserve economist Madeline Zavodny, its effect is not what many believe.

Government Budgets

Instead of being a drain on governments, Zavodny says that immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in services, and that they add $10 billion a year more to state and federal budgets than is spent on them. However, illegal immigrants use more state and local services than they pay for in taxes, according to the Congressional budget office. Immigrants can raise public education costs and impose substantial costs on places that attract a lot of immigrants, like California.

Jobs

There is a consensus among economists that immigrants do not affect unemployment or wages very much, except for low-skilled workers. Negative effects of immigrants on jobs are limited to those workers with less than a high school education.

Health Care

According to, the Center for Immigration Studies, the increase in the number of people without health insurance since 1989 has been driven by immigrants. This strains the resources of those who provide medical care to the uninsured, and raises insurance premiums for people who have insurance.

About the Author

Jeffrey Whitten started writing in 2009, with expertise in politics and government. His work has appeared in the "Independent Appeal." Whitten has a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in political science from the University of Southern California.

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