Creating Valid Immigration Entry Statistics

Sherrie Kossoudji, University of Michigan

What does the time trend of immigration to the United States look like? Researchers who don't typically do work on immigration often use immigration statistics put out by the Office of Immigration Statistics. Unfortunately, both the data used and the conclusions drawn can be dangerously incorrect. These statistics, on the number of immigrants entered as Lawful Permanent Residents (the only immigrant category), include both new entrants to the United States and people who have changed their status to Lawful Permanent Resident. These status adjusters are typically 30 to 80 percent of all "new" immigrants. In this paper I use status adjuster information to estimate the time of immigration and to create a valid time series of immigration statistics and to discuss the changing incentives that drive different kinds of migration.

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Presented in Session 23: New Data and Methods in Migration