Posted: June 27th, 2015

Since their stay is illegal, they end up working in the low paying industries with most of them living below the poverty line




1.1 Background Information

The modern American metropolis was and remains to be a product resulting from the transformations that came about economically; industrial and commercial revolutions that are largely dependent on immigrant labor. This has been the stage for America’s immigration history which includes; locale for work, community development, cultural expression and leisure. In the course of the twentieth century, sice 1970s when changes in the immigration demographics coincided with stagflation increasing the immigration rate and de-industrialization, the metropolis has had the new role with great importance.

The historic believe for the immigrants feeling welcomed or excluded has played out in the urban and sub-urban areas in many ways as cities and suburbs are crucial in New America. Immigrants have often aspired to be part of the American ideal culture but they usually remain uncomfortable and are always not willing to totally embrace the facets of the American aspirational model. Most of the limitations that the immigrants face are; denial to access transnational linkages that are usually manifested through cheap transport and digital technologies and dividing immigrants across and between geographical boundaries that are traditional. However, immigrants have played a critical role in the enlargement of freedom in the United States. This is because, they are often refugees coming from many forms of tyranny and intolerance and also on arriving to America, they always become minorities subjected under tough conditions by the majorities. Due to this, they become great defenders of Civil liberty.

1.2 Problem Statement

As recently as the past month, there has been a debate on how to deal with the perceived American immigration problem. Different people especially politicians have aired their diverse views on the issue. Worth noting is that the American congress has failed to address this problem via the use of legislation thus leaving the public and the political field to debate on the same. The two opposing sides argument is on the effects that the high immigration has on the country’s economy and local economies. In fact, one side argues that the contribution is positive while the other group argues for the opposite. It has been difficult to establish the relationship that exists between immigration societies and their new metropolis. Only a few researchers have documented the relationship between immigrants and the economic effects on a particular metropolis.

With the intention of seeking better working terms and to a place of perceived opportunity, many people have found the United States to fulfill this promise. Most of them have gotten there legally. Others have however worked their way around the authorities. The most discussed immigrant societies in the United States is the Mexican community, which contributes a large chunk of immigrants. Most of the states in the south and bordering the country have their own share of the impact of Mexican immigrants on their society.

The United States of America has witnessed an influx of immigrants in the past century mainly from the Hispanic society and Mexico in particular. Studies have documented the impact that this influx has had on the local economy and the metropolis in the country. In the passage of laws to curb this perceived problem, one only wonders whether limiting the migration will benefit or further cripple the economy. The little data available on the Hispanic Society in the US have not been used to inform decision-making on the same issue.

This research proposal has the goal of boosting the research data to help establish the relationship. Most of immigrants in the United States are from Central America and Mexico. They are mainly unauthorized in their stay. They are also more likely to be of the male gender and married having lower education standards compared to other immigrants from elsewhere. Since their stay is illegal, they end up working in the low paying industries with most of them living below the poverty line. Their children are also more likely to be born in the United States having a lower proficiency of English compared with other immigrants. This research therefore tries to establish the total Hispanic population and the average level of income that they earn.

1.3 Research Objectives

This research paper seeks to unravel the mystery behind the following two key objectives whose answers will be obtained using various strategies that are discussed later in the paper are;

I           To examine the influence of the Mexican immigrants on the Median household income for Metropolitan areas in the United States of America.

II       To find out the effects of law on immigration.

1.4 Importance of the Study

The Mexican society in the United States has been increasing throughout the years. Most of the existing data is from censuses, which do not capture the complete number. One objective of this research which is to establish the number of Hispanics living in the country will help to correlate the values with the documented ones from censuses. Secondly, this research will establish the effects that the population of Hispanics has on the economy by citing examples of existing metropolis. The research aims to determine the effect on the average wage that the immigration of Hispanics and other groups has on the metropolis areas. The paper also aims at establishing the effects that legislation has had on immigration in the US and the metropolis population in general. Many states such as Arizona have formulated laws to try to curb immigration in an attempt to mitigate the effects on the local economy. The research establishes whether these laws have had any effect (and what the effect is) on the immigrant population. It also seeks to establish the relationship between the native worker and the immigrant worker and the different terms in which they are able to work. It also tries to answer the question of the average age and commonest sex of the immigrants, the level of education, and other social characteristics.


There are various literatures talking about the effect of immigration on the metropolis. They agree that there is an effect on the economies of the metropolis, which is either positive or negative. It is reported that the population of immigrants forms a large proportion of the total population in most developed countries. This finding changes to a higher proportion when the workforce is considered. In the United States, for example, a large proportion of immigrants are from Central and South America with Mexicans having the greatest number. It is therefore not surprising that any policy on immigration focuses on this population more than any other. It is estimated that the Mexican population forms over 30% of the immigrant population with all Latin Americans making up about 53% of the immigrant population (US Census Bureau 49). In the early 1970s, the population of Central Americans and Mexicans in the US was less than a million people. However, this figure has considerably grown to unprecedented levels with the start of the decade marking the highest levels observed.

It is reported that the immigrants of the US have a higher fertility rate compared to the natives of this country (US Census Bureau 29). This means that the average household size is larger than that of the Native Americans thus making their dependence rates higher. Putnam stated that there appears to be a reduction in social capital and civic participation in the United States (2). This claim has had a significant effect on the wages and salaries to the general population and the immigrant population in particular. In determining the effects of immigration on the local economy, it is important to consider the social capital of the population involved.

Some authors have pointed this view as a necessary procedure (Marcelli and Cornelius 11) while others consider it of a lesser value in this establishment (Aguilera and Massey 2003). It is also necessary to separate the contribution that is made by the two sexes with men said to contribute more in relation to women in the formal labor market. They are also said to have a comparatively higher wage, which may be due to the hurdles that women workers have to encounter. However, this case is of less significance since most of the immigrants who are working are male. Gray, Jerry, and Richard Chapman found in their research that the benefit in social capital however for women is more on the other areas other than employment and earnings (3). Civic organizations often organize meetings aimed at helping the immigrants to earn more income and improve their standards of living.

This effort has been proven to work in their advantage. However, as Putnam (34) observed, fewer and fewer immigrants attend these meetings. They therefore end up not benefitting. It is thought that attending these meetings would equip the immigrants with the necessary skills of job seeking, information gathering, and resource utilization (Putnam 20). However, this is not possible since most of the immigrant population from Central America and Mexico is illegal and therefore afraid of attending these meetings for fear of capture.

Social capital as described by Putnam (93) in his report on the effect it has on the economic growth in Italy is an important social indicator of wage growth. For this reason, social capital has a positive association with the total earnings of the population of Mexicans whether authorized or unauthorized (Aguilera and Massey 23). In general, the migrant population into the United States from Mexico and other parts of Latin America is male with an average age distribution from 15 to 65 years. In the latest survey, the population of immigrants from Mexico that is employed in the civil service is less than 80 percent with most of them doing labor-intensive jobs such as construction and service industry. There have been a number of debates on the effect of the immigrants on local economies with some people citing the fact that wages for the locals reduce or stagnate due to a cheaper alternative labor provided by the immigrants.

With these effects however, some have also suggested that this cannot be compared to the large amount of economic gains produced by an influx of immigrants even though the reduction in wages occurs. It has been suggested that the status of unauthorized immigrants in the US is a force that shapes wages (Marcelli and Cornelius 24). This means that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country affects the wages for the Mexicans living in the US. This effect can only be negative. Many authors have also argued on the contrary with Marcelli and Cornelius (24) suggesting that unauthorized status has a wage penalty for the immigrant population of men. In a research by the National Research Council, it was concluded that the impact of immigration is mainly on the immigrants themselves, which also has a positive correlation with the economy to which they migrate (National Research Council 23). This is in reference to the share of the economic growth that they bring to the host metropolis and the country in general.

In most international migration trends, immigrants have opted to move from their home countries to a land they perceive to be greener pastures. For the Mexican and Latin Americans, America provides them with this chance. They do all within their means to get to the other side of the border. Most have however discovered that getting their desired jobs in the new country is not as easy as they had imagined. They return to their home country. There is therefore the dilemma of risking capture along the border, fining police waiting for a person, and the idea of staying behind and continuing to endure the effects of poor economies and political poverty.

Women and men experience the labor market differently with more men participating in the formal labor market and earning higher wages because of many factors including discrimination, occupational segregation, and longer and less interrupted work histories (Ehrenberg and Smith 2003). Social capital appears to benefit women in many areas but not in employment and earnings (Caiazza and Putnam 2005). In light of these concerns, we test our hypotheses by analyzing models for women and men separately.

Three hypotheses guide this investigation of network social capital–both reciprocal exchange and participation in civic organizations–on the wages of Mexican men and women in Los Angeles County.

Hypothesis 1: Participation in civic organizations, one form of network social capital, provides access to information and resources that augment Mexican migrants’ wages, while reciprocal social network exchange does not.

Attending meetings of civic organizations may provide an economic benefit as migrants obtain access to information and resources that could help them find employment with better wages. However, low-income individuals like other groups in the United States have been attending fewer meetings during the last quarter of the twentieth century, as the average number of meetings attended for the poorest third of the population declined from nine to four (Putnam 2000). The mechanism through which network social capital is transferred through participation in civic meetings is not clearly understood. Social networks frequently consist of homogenous individuals (McPherson and Smith-Lovin 1982) and may not provide access to a range of information necessary for a successful job search for a low-income migrant population. In contrast, attending meetings of civic organizations is thought to provide an opportunity to gain exposure to information and resources that otherwise might not be available in migrants’ immediate social networks (Putnam 2000). Organizational membership is not necessarily selective because many organizations desire to expand their membership base. Individuals, therefore, possibly meet a variety of people that they might not be exposed to in their regular social network interactions. These “other” individuals would more likely possess non-redundant information because of their different access to information in their various network connections. For example, even though religious organizations are frequently segregated by race, they have a more diverse membership in regards to income. This membership diversity might assist lower income migrants in finding jobs with higher wages.

Putnam’s research (1993) on the economic benefit of stocks of social capital in explaining economic growth in Italy suggests that social capital could play an important role in a number of economic indicators including wage growth. Evidence supports this claim for an unauthorized migrant population. Aguilera and Massey (2003) find that social capital is positively associated with the earnings of authorized and unauthorized Mexican men. They measure social network participation by a person’s interaction with people and institutions. This includes participating in sports organizations or belonging to social organizations, and this measure of social capital is positively associated with undocumented Mexican men’s wages. They also measure social capital by family and friendship tie and find that far family ties and friendship ties are positively associated with unauthorized men’s wages. Thus, network social capital that unauthorized Mexican men develop by attending meetings of civic organizations is expected to provide access to information and resources that leads to jobs that offer higher wages.

Hypothesis 2: Network social capital works differently in the labor market for men and women.   Mexican men benefit from both forms of network social capital–civic participation and network reciprocity–in earning higher wages, while women do not receive the same benefit.

Social capital appears to be accumulated in the neighborhood and at work for Mexican migrants, and men accumulate more social capital than women through reciprocal social network exchange (Granberry and Marcelli 2007). Some debate exists about women’s ability to use social networks to provide higher wages. Social networks traditionally have been thought to benefit males more than females (Lin 2000b); however, Aguilera (2008) finds that women receive a wage premium from social network participation, while men do not. Women who use a close family member or friend to find employment earn higher wages, but this is not the case for Latina women.

In general, women have more family members in their social network, while men appear to develop more relationships outside the family and neighborhood that include more coworkers, (Moore 1990; Sassen 1995). Women develop closer network relationships that might influence their social capital accumulation. Stack’s (1974) ethnographic work with low-income black families illuminates how women develop strong ties with other women in their community to provide support for their families. These strong ties are important in developing informal support structures to manage their household economy.

Williams and Windebank’s (2006) research in the United Kingdom supports these findings as low wages in the informal labor market are reflective of women’s willingness to work for kin, friends, or neighbors. In addition to economic and social support, these strong ties may provide access to redundant information and resources that do not assist low-income individuals’ access to new labor market opportunities. Participation in networks with weak ties are beneficial because weak ties provide access to non-redundant information and resources that are important in job searches (Granovetter 1974). Low-income women’s focus on providing support for their families that foster dependence on strong ties may have an unintended negative consequence of limiting their access to important information and resources necessary for success in the formal labor market.

Network social capital accumulated through reciprocal exchange could inadvertently trap migrants, especially women, in social networks that provide redundant information that limits their access to information and resources, especially for labor market participation. Social capital is shaped by social network quality, and Mexican migrants who have lower SES have social network members with similar economic characteristics, who cannot help them fare better in the labor market (Mouw 2003). This negative characteristic of network social capital could be more pronounced for women. Smith (2000) investigates the use of personal contacts in a job search and finds that social capital provides a wage penalty for Latina women even when they use weak ties to find employment. Thus, the network social capital that unauthorized Mexican women develop through social network reciprocity and by attending meetings of civic organizations is not expected to provide access to information and resources that leads to jobs that offer higher wages.

Hypothesis 3: Because of social inequality, both forms of network social capital are unable to mediate negative institutional forces (e.g., segmented labor market, unauthorized immigration, family care giving roles) that reduce Mexican migrants’ wages.

Social inequalities shape social capital accumulation and limit network social capital’s potential to provide economic benefits for individuals in disadvantaged neighborhoods (Lin 2000a). The embedded strengths and weaknesses of the community influence network social capital that is accumulated in social relationships and from membership in civic organizations. This institutional support can drift away from vulnerable populations as it did when middle income individuals left the inner city for the suburbs (Wilson 1987). Even when it is present, it is not easily transferred from a migrant community. Ethnic enclaves are important for support in personal, cultural, and economic domains, but this support comes with unwanted restrictions. The costs of community solidarity that promotes closure in family and community relationships could outweigh the benefits provided because of limitations resulting from the exclusion of outsiders, restriction of personal freedom, and excessive claims of group members (Portes and Sensenbrenner 1993; Portes 1998).   This focus on social closure could be even more difficult for women to navigate because as they are exposed to new social freedoms in the United States, they still experience traditional expectations on how to contribute to the household economy.



3.1 Research Design

The research paper employed an explanatory design. In this, qualitative data from various studies with information from the census was collected. The data included the census done in the year 2000 and the other one in 2010 providing vital information on the distribution and population of immigrants in the United States mainly the Hispanics. The census done in both years provides a comprehensive report on the race, population, age distribution, housing, social structure, and a variety of other information. In the 2000 census, the total number of counties identified was 3,219. They were later grouped into 389 metropolises (US Census Bureau 9).

For the census, a questionnaire was issued consisting of the information of the respondents in a form that they understood. This data is the one that finds use in this research paper to group the people into races in a bid to deduce their immigration status. The research also tries to establish the change in population of immigrants with the economic situation in the US.


3.2 Population

The population was of all the countries that participated in the United States Census, which was done on April,1 2000. The 2000 Census results are extensive and display analytical reports on population change, race, age, family structure, housing, apportionment, and more. The census shows economic characteristics for the United States as well as selected housing characteristics for the given year. The census identifies 3,219 counties, which are aggregated them into 389 metropolitan areas for this research.

3.3 Data Collection

Primary data was in this study. In this regard, two forms that one can fill out for the census, the simple “short” form questionnaire stating the bodies that live in your housing unit on that given day or the more detailed “long” form questionnaire were issued. On the long form, for any individual living in a household, they were asked over fifty questions about their race, level of education, marital status, employment, types of income and many more.

3.4 Data Analysis

The data collected was checked for completeness and cleaned. Errors were eliminated. To test the hypothesis of families living below the poverty income level and those who receive public assistance hence driving people away of the middle class making close to or just about the median income of their area, one variable to measure those who receive public assistance was created. The percentage of households who receive public assistance is created by dividing the number of households who received public assistance divided by the total number of households in a metropolitan area. The other variable that was used was the median household income. This variable is taken from the 2000 census but it identifies household income in 1999. A scatter plot was to be analyzed to identify the relationship of these two variables.


From the research , it is been clear that the population of immigrants into the US is mainly from the Latin America and Mexico in particular. The effects that these immigrants bring onto the local economies have also been discussed with a general conclusion that they have added economic advantage to the metropolis. In the findings, the economic effects of immigration favored more men than women with the benefits being mainly personal. In the Metropolis that the research came across, the larger number of immigrants was unauthorized thus providing the challenge of accounting for the economic results of immigration, as the immigrants avoided any means of estimating their income.

In the area of economic contribution, the immigrants worked more in the informal sector and the construction company mainly maintaining the cheaper rated for the jobs that the natives are unwilling to take up. Their education standards and literacy levels are lower compared with the average native, and the language of choice is Spanish with poor literary skills in English. The social outfits that were used to gauge the level of income are appropriate with the finding that the social capital is an important indicator of the wages earned by the immigrants. Another finding is that the contributions by the immigrants have mainly been positive. There is a recorded growth in the metropolis. The immigrants have settled. This issue has been driven by the cheap and readily available labor in the region from the immigrants.

The population of immigrants is also found to be on the rise. New laws in many metropolises meant to limit them are difficult to enforce. However, with the inception of these laws, the immigrant population has opted to permanently settle in these areas. This has created a future problem for the metropolises in the form of social responsibility. In the observations, the economic power of immigrants is increasing by day with more and more being legalized and more crossing the border for greener pastures. In the states where a law against the immigrants and immigration has been put to place, the effects can be felt in the economy with wages going up to the advantage of the natives. However, the availability of services that were provided by the immigrants is no longer there. The only remainder is a rich metropolis without labor. This has therefore not worked in the way of the metropolis. It only proves the dependence that the nation has on the immigrants for cheap labor. Another finding is that most of immigrants in the US had a different reason for moving in with some thinking that landing in the US would relieve all their problems. These people contribute to the negative effects of immigration by lowering the GDP and depending on others thus increasing the dependence ratio.



5.1 Introduction        

This chapter provides a summary of the study, discussions and conclusions. The researchers then present the recommendations for both the research and for the policy and practice.

5.2 Summary

In summary, the researchers administered a census for the two years; 1999 and 2000.The study was guided by the following research objectives:

I       To examine the influence of the Mexican immigrants on the Median household income for Metropolitan areas in the United States of America.

II       To find out the effects of law on immigration


5.3 Discussions

The research found out that, first, there is a positive relationship between the immigrant Mexican and Non-Mexican population in the Metropolis areas of the US. In this relationship, the local economies have a growth rate that correlates with its amount of cheap labor at their disposal. Therefore, the larger the immigrant population, the more successful the metropolis is in terms of economy.Secondly, with the movement of immigrants from their country into the new Metropolis, there is a change in the social status, which is an improvement from their initial economic status. For the Mexican immigrants, the jobs performed are mainly manual and not the preference of the native population, which considers blue-collar jobs. The immigrants therefore boost the local economy by providing these skills in a cheaper and reliable manner.

Thirdly, from the research findings, it can be deduced that, the contribution of the immigrant population to the working population. As seen above, the immigrant population has a significant share of the working population in the US. This has been the source of divisions on the immigration policy. Many authors agree that the immigration problem should be dealt in a sober manner with others suggesting that immigrants are taking jobs from them in their own country. This leads them to conclude that the problem should be addressed by congress include deportation of all the unauthorized immigrants in the metropolises and a priority given to the natives in job opportunities.

5.4 Conclusion

As seen above, there is a significant change in the approach given to the immigration problem after the development of laws against immigration. Most of the metropolis areas have adapted differently to the effects of the immigrants with most having a close economic relationship with the immigrants. This relationship however is fragile. It depends on the rate of unemployment in the native population. If the rate is high, authorities have often sought to cushion the natives by the use of laws, which are unfriendly to the immigrant society. Finally, immigration is an important topic in the US. The effects that it has on the local economies vary with the region. Throughout the centuries, the effects of immigration have not been felt as they are now. Laws against it are not as effective as the government tries to achieve its goals.

5.5 Recommendations

Reflecting on the division of the country on how to address the immigration concerns, the United States of America Congress has to work towards passing legislation to reform the immigration laws. More empirical data should be collected from more censuses to explain this issue so that appropriate laws can be passed. The influence of immigrants on median household income for metropolitan areas in the United States should be addressed to avoid the misconception that has been there that immigrants make economic contributions to metropolitan areas. The other misconception that has been there is that immigrants drive down wages and depress local economies also need to be addressed to avoid the desparities that metropolitan areas with higher concentration of immigrants will have a higher median household income.



Aguilera, Michael, and Douglas Massey. “Social Capital and Wages of Mexican Migrants: New Hypotheses and Tests.” Social Forces 82.2(2003): 671-701. Print.

Gray, Jerry, and Richard Chapman. The Significance of Segmentation for Institutionalist Theory and Public Policy. In Dell P. Champlin and Janet T. Knoedler, Eds.,TheInstitutionalist Tradition in Labor Economics. New York, NY: M. E. Sharpe, Print.

Marcelli, Ellen, Wycliffe Cornelius. “The Changing Profile of Mexican Migrants to the United States: NewEvidence from California and Mexico.” Latin American Research Review, 36.3(2004): 11-24. Print.

National Research Council.The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1997. Print.

Putnam, Robert. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York, Simon & Shuster, 2000. Print.

Putnam, Robert. “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century.” Scandinavian Political Studies 30.2(2007): 137-174. Print.

US Census Bureau.American Community Survey (ACS), 2009. Web 2 Dec. 2012. documentation/2009 release/

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