Arnold Kling  

Barone on the Kling Scenario

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Michael Barone writes,


Start with the Coastal Megalopolises: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago (on the coast of Lake Michigan), Miami, Washington and Boston. Here is a pattern you don't find in other big cities: Americans moving out and immigrants moving in, in very large numbers, with low overall population growth. Los Angeles, defined by the Census Bureau as Los Angeles and Orange Counties, had a domestic outflow of 6% of 2000 population in six years--balanced by an immigrant inflow of 6%. The numbers are the same for these eight metro areas as a whole...

The result is that these Coastal Megalopolises are increasingly a two-tiered society, with large affluent populations happily contemplating (at least until recently) their rapidly rising housing values, and a large, mostly immigrant working class working at low wages and struggling to move up the economic ladder. The economic divide in New York and Los Angeles is starting to look like the economic divide in Mexico City and São Paulo.


The Kling Scenario is where immigrants displace native-borns on the poverty rolls. In an email, Kevin Lang put a damper on that thesis, saying that poverty among native-borns remains high, at 12.1 percent, compared with 12.6 percent overall.

However, there are potential "new entrants" to poverty other than immigrants. Divorces create new poor families. Also, young families tend to start out poor relative to their eventual incomes.



COMMENTS (5 to date)
spencer writes:

I know you like to make a big deal of how income improves with age. But if you look at the data it shows that the median family income of a 45-54 year old -- the peak income years -- is only some 25% to 30% higher then the median family income of a 25-34 year old -- when most people are first earning adult full time wages. In 2005 these income were some $27,075 and $36,172.

Both the median 25-34 and the median 45-54 year olds are well within the middle decile of income distribution.

Yes, you are right that income improve about one percentage point per year with age, but is that really so important that it makes all the differences you keep claiming.

Ironman writes:

spencer asked: "is that really so important that it makes all the differences you keep claiming"?

The answer is yes. The reason has to do with the demographics of the U.S. working population, specifically age. The details, well, are coming soon - I still have to write posts around the data and analysis. For a preview, here is some background information (for 2005):

Generations
The Distribution of Income by Age in the U.S.
Peak Earning Years for U.S. Individuals

PrestoPundit writes:

The children of immigrants are counted as NATIVE BORN. Children make up the largest population of the poor. The Kling Scenario stands as a significant explanation for poverty rates in America. Kevin Lang is either not thinking -- or he's intentionally trying to blow smoke.

TGGP writes:

The out-migration of people from the coastal areas (which have long has the most foreign immigration) is evidence that those immigrants do not improve the quality of life, but more likely do the opposite. Even immigrants (and their descendants) find those areas less livable than what is derisively called the "boring" or "whitebread" "flyover country", which is why they are shifting toward that area as well. Maybe the red-states will avoid making the same mistakes the blue ones did that drove their people away. I doubt it though.

Arnold Kling writes:

PrestoPundit,
Good point about the children of immigrants. I saw some data that said 1/4 of low-income children are children of immigrants. Total child poverty is about 35 percent of total poverty. So 1/4 of that is about 10 percent (rounding up slightly). If we took that 10 percent out of total poverty, then the poverty rate among those who are neither immigrants or children in immigrant families would be a bit less than 11 percent, compared with 12.6 percent of the total population, including immigrants.

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