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Immigration and Education: Setbacks and Opportunities For Earnings along the Texas–Mexico Border

Christina Daly


This paper examines returns to education and income determinants of residents along the Texas-Mexico boder, using the 2006-2008 3-Year American Community Survey data. The returns to education are higher along the border than in the rest of Texas, especially for college educated Hispanic women, suggesting high demand for bilingual professionals. In regressions focusing on the border, controls for English ability and other income factors makes the Hispanic variable insignificant. While in regressions focusing on the rest of Texas, being Hispanic has little impact on earnings. The immigrant variable decreases earnings by 7% along the border, but is positive elsewhere in Texas, suggesting immigrants are relatively well paid for their skill level, but comparatively low skills cause low average earnings. Finally, the border region potentially loses over $900 per adult a year due to lower earnings power from relatively low education levels compared to the rest of the state. Hispanics have the lowest education attainment and compared to the earnings of non-Hispanics with higher education attainment, may miss out on over $2,200 a year.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229