E.g., 11/28/2023
E.g., 11/28/2023
MPI Releases Data on Immigrants' Income and Poverty Levels Nationally and in Each State
Press Release
Thursday, May 24, 2007

MPI Releases Data on Immigrants' Income and Poverty Levels Nationally and in Each State

WASHINGTON -- A new research tool from the Migration Policy Institute provides instant access to the most recent information available on the income and poverty levels of the foreign born nationally and in each of the 50 states.  With the click of a button, journalists and researchers can access information including: 

  • Median earnings in the last 12 months by world region of birth and by period of entry;
  • The percentage of foreign-born workers earning less than $25,000 a year and the percentage earning $50,000 or more a year in 2005; and
  • Comparisons of the wages of foreign- and native-born men and women.

The data tool also includes state rankings for highest to lowest median incomes of the foreign born, the share of the foreign-born population living in poverty, and the change in the foreign-born population in poverty from 2000 to 2005.  According to these rankings:

  • South Dakota had the highest share of foreign-born persons in poverty, and Maryland had the lowest;
  • Foreign-born men’s median earnings were highest in New Hampshire and lowest in Arkansas; and
  • Foreign-born women’s median earnings were highest in the District of Columbia and lowest in New Mexico.

“Overall, these data show mixed results in terms of immigrants' economic progress in the United States,” said MPI Data Hub Manager Jeanne Batalova.  “Although the national share of the foreign born living in poverty was slightly smaller in 2005 than in 2000 or 1990, poverty rates are still higher for foreign-born than native-born people.”  She continued, “What may be most promising is that immigrants’ median earnings rise the longer they are in the United States.” 

The tool, which is part of the MPI Data Hub, uses 2005 American Community Survey and U.S. Census data. It also makes it easy to access current data on social and demographic characteristics as well as English-language proficiency, educational attainment levels and workforce participation of the foreign born in each state. The tool is available online.