Late-Age Migration and Economic Wellbeing

Kevin O'Neil, University of Cape Town
Marta Tienda, Princeton University

Immigrants who enter the United States later in life comprise a growing proportion of legal immigrant admissions. These immigrants may be at an economic disadvantage in old age due to their short working lives in the US and barriers to obtaining public benefits. Using data on immigrants aged 65 and above from 1994-2010 Current Population Surveys, we show that immigration later in life is associated with significantly lower personal incomes and lower rates of receipt of entitlement benefits. Entry at an older age is also associated with greater rates of receipt of means-tested benefits. We find that entry after the 1996 welfare reform law is associated with lower personal incomes and lower rates of receipt of SSI and Medicaid. We find only modest differences between pre-1996 and post-1996 entrants in the relationship between age at entry and economic outcomes in older age; this may reflect limitations in our data.

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Presented in Session 124: Consequences of Population Aging on Labor Markets