August 27, 2007

Better Wages for Latino Immigrants

36%

That’s the proportion of foreign-born Latino workers in the lowest fifth of the wage distribution, a significant decline from the 42% who were low wage workers a decade earlier.

Foreign-born Latino workers made notable progress between 1995 and 2005 when ranked by hourly wage with the proportion in the lowest fifth of the wage distribution declining from 42% to 36%; newly arrived Hispanic workers also were much less likely to be low-wage earners in 2005 than in 1995, in part because they were older, better educated and more likely to be employed in construction than in agriculture. Yet despite the clear movement into the middle range of the wage distribution, many foreign-born Latinos remain low-wage earners. Even though the share of Latino workers at the low end decreased, in absolute numbers this population grew by 1.2 million between 1995 and 2005. Foreign-born workers in general did well during that time period, though there were significant differences among them. While Latino workers moved out of the low end of the wage distribution and into the middle, Asians significantly boosted their presence in the high-wage workforce. Read More