CSII Publications

A State Resilient: Immigrant Integration and California’s Future

By Manuel Pastor, Justin Scoggins and Jennifer Tran
June 2010

A State Resilient: Immigrant Integration and California’s Future offered a nuanced understanding of California’s standing in terms of education, inequality, and immigrant labor force. It was intended to bring balance to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) entitled A State Transformed: Immigration and the New California.  The CIS report noted that California had slipped to dead last in a list of states ranked by the share of the labor force that has completed high school and attributed both that and the state’s sharp rise in inequality to mass immigration.

A State Resilient pointed out that while inequality was a real problem in the state, the rise in inequality had occurred among the native-born. Further, changes in the state’s economic structure had not been driven by immigrants, but rather, had drawn immigrants to the state.

Moreover, if the implication was that our immigrant workforce has contributed to a slip in the quality of the workforce, it is hard to square that with California's continued high standing in terms of both median household income and gross domestic product per employed worker. The report suggested that part of the issue has to do with understanding exactly what the changing educational level “signals” about the changing labor force.


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