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Chart Oct 9, 2018

The foreign-born share of the U.S. population has returned to its late-19th-century level.

Immigration during the second half of the 19th century lifted the foreign-born share of the population to 14 percent. Starting in the 1910s, however, immigration to the United States fell precipitously, and the foreign-born share of the population reached a historic low of 4.7 percent in 1970. The foreign-born fraction of the population rose steadily from 1970 to its 2017 level of 13.7 percent.

Chart Oct 9, 2018

Immigration flows and low fertility of native-born individuals increase the foreign-born share.

Though the foreign-born fraction has risen to its late-19th-century levels, the net migration rate is just half the level that prevailed around 1900. With declining native-born population growth in recent years, even a diminished level of net migration has been enough to raise the foreign-born fraction. In addition, recent growth in the number of prime-age children of immigrants has continued at more than 3 percent, supporting overall U.S. population growth. 

Chart Oct 9, 2018

Most immigrants today come from Asia or Latin America, while in 1910 most came from Europe.

The countries of origin of immigrants to the United States have changed dramatically over the past century. In the early 20th century the overwhelming majority of migrants entering the United States came from Europe. Today, the makeup of U.S. immigrants is much different: nearly 60 percent of the foreign-born emigrated either from Mexico (which accounted for only 1.6 percent of the foreign-born in 1910) or Asian countries (which accounted for only 1.4 percent in 1910).

Chart Oct 9, 2018

Immigrants are much more likely than others to work in construction or service occupations.

Immigrant workers are 39 percent less likely to work in office and administrative support positions and 31 percent less likely to work in management, while being 113 percent more likely to work in construction. However, these gaps tend to diminish across generations. There are almost no appreciable differences in occupations between the children of immigrants and children of natives.

Chart Oct 9, 2018

Immigration in the United States does not increase crime rates.

Immigrants to the United States are considerably less likely than natives to commit crimes or to be incarcerated. Recent immigrants are much less likely to be institutionalized (a proxy for incarceration that also includes those in health-care institutions like mental institutions, hospitals, and drug treatment centers) at every age. In addition, 30- to 36-year-old immigrants are less likely to have been recently arrested, incarcerated, charged, or convicted of a crime when compared to natives

Chart Jun 13, 2018

Concentration is high in markets with large returns to scale and network effects.

In industries such as “search engines,” “wireless carriers,” and “delivery services,” there are clear cost savings from large scale. High fixed costs—the infrastructure and technological expertise necessary to maintain a quality service—can be spread across many customers. Consequently, the respective top two firms in each market command 87 percent of the search engine market, 69 percent of the wireless carriers market, and 76 percent of the delivery services market.

Chart Jun 13, 2018

Many firms have substantial power in labor markets.

Many firms have at least some wage-setting power derived from the willingness of their employees to accept lower wages than they could earn elsewhere. Economists attempt to quantify this employee willingness to accept lower wages in terms of the so-called labor supply elasticity. That is, what percent lower employment would a firm expect if it offered 1 percent lower wages? In general, firms face relatively inelastic labor supply.

Chart Jun 13, 2018

Fewer mergers are being blocked when at least five competitors would remain.

The Federal Trade Commission almost always blocks mergers that would leave only one or two remaining competitors, while mergers leaving three or four competitors are only sometimes challenged. In recent years, antitrust regulators have become much less likely to act against mergers that would leave five, six, or seven competitors, while becoming slightly more likely to block mergers that would leave only one to four competitors.