Graph depicting Undocumented Immigrants and Median Income
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Description: This scatter chart compares the percentage of each state's population that is undocumented against the median household income of that state. The orange line indicates the trend. On average, having more undocumented immigrants correlates with higher median income.

Sources: Census and Pew Hispanic

Data: Excel

Last updated: December 31, 1969


Correlation Between Undocumented Immigrant Population and Median Income

Discussion: States with more undocumented immigrants per capita, on average, have median household incomes approximately $5,000 higher. Undocumented immigrants make up less than 6% of the population in every state with a median household income of less than $45,000 and make up more than 6% of the population in three of the four states with median incomes higher than $65,000.

It is important to note that this correlation does not prove that having more undocumented immigrants causes median income to rise. It is just as plausible that it works the other way around- states with higher median incomes attract more undocumented immigrants. That said, we can draw several useful conclusions from the data. First, it proves that it is possible to have both a very high median income and a lot of undocumented immigrants. Second, the correlation does suggest that undocumented immigrants might boost median income. Third, it makes it significantly less plausible that undocumented immigrants dramatically undermine median income.

Also, it is interesting to compare this chart with the chart showing the correlation between median income and foreign born population. Where states with the most undocumented immigrants tend to have a median income that is approximately $5,000 higher than the states with the fewest, states with the most immigrants- including both documented and undocumented immigrants- have median incomes $11,000 higher. That suggests that allowing people to come out of the shadows may increase their positive effect on median income.

See more graphs about: Immigration   Income  

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