Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mexicans come in dead last in immigrant competition! This is the final installment in my mini-study of the highest versus the lowest quality immigrants. First, let's see who brings the greatest family stability to the country, measured as the percentage of people ages 25-60 who are married:

1. Indians 75.6
2. Filipinos 73.7
3. Chinese 72.7
4. Italians 71.9
5. Mexicans 65.5
6. English/Welsh 65.3
7. Spain 62.8
8. Germans 58.2
9. Africans 50.0

Below I have summed the standardized values of the five variables (unemployment, education, crime, political values, family stability) in order to get a ranking of immigrant groups from best to worst. Listen: can you hear the drum roll?

1. Filipinos (10.7)
2. English/Welsh (7.8)
3. Chinese (6.9)
4. Indians (6.1)
5. Germans (1.6)
6. Italians (-1.6)
7. Spain (-3.02)
8. Africans (-5.68)
9. Mexicans (-12.9)

Counting both legal and illegal immigrants, annual totals from the Philippines number in the tens of thousands while those from Mexico numbers in the hundreds of thousands. I'm sure that people around the world look at our immigration policy and say, "Damn, those Americans are clever."


  1. Is it not possible that this is skewed by quantity? Referring back to your earlier post on regional intelligence, which cast an aspersion on Wisconsinites (I am one) - I note that Wisconsin has one of the highest average SAT scores in the nation. But fewer than ten per cent of WI students take that test. What if we had ten million Filipino immigrants? Would your rankings stay the same?

  2. Of course it would not, but this is exactly the point. Better to take the best 1% from every country than the (lets say) average of Mexico.

  3. Jeff: The point about Wisconsin was not to be taken too seriously because the numbers are regional, so it is possible that a high percentage of whites from your state get at least a bachelor's degree, while Michigan has all the dummies. (You folks from Michigan can blame Ohio, and so on.)

    If I get your point, I deliberately chose ethnic groups with samples large enough to produce stable findings. So if magically the number of Filipinos was much higher, the findings should be very similar.

  4. No - I looked it up and WI is slightly below the national average in % of pop. with bachelors or higher. Perhaps people should speak a bit more slowly when they find out I'm from Wisconsin.

  5. How about a sixth variable ... entrepreneurship? Hope the GSS has such a variable.

    We are always saying that entrepreneurship is a major gift that immigrants give to the US.


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