It's been awhile since President Bush has touted his push for an Ownership Society. Given the intensity of the current immigration debate, it's prudent of him to keep his mouth shut. Why? Because the larger the foreign-born population, the lower the home ownership rate becomes.
Running a regression on the home ownership rate and foreign-born proportion of the population by state yields a significant factor of zero (it's definitely not random) and an r-squared of just over .42 (42% of the home ownership rate of a state can be explained by number of the foreign-born in that state). For each 1% increase in the foreign-born population as a portion of the state's entire population, the home ownership rate correspondingly decreases .65%.
Like so many other potential consequences of the unprecedented immigration influx, it's something people should know about, and--in light of Steve Sailer's Dirt Gap--something Republican pols should think about.
++Addition++From basic economic theory (and obviously there are lots of other factors like geography in play) I would expect the newly-arrived to locate in areas where housing is more affordable, but they are doing the exact opposite. In fact, the percentage of foreign born and housing affordability have an inverse r-squared (zero sign factor) value of .58. Wow. What role are migrants playing here? Are they attracted to places they cannot afford (because there are many affluents in need of services), are they making places less affordable, a combination of the two, or something else?
Whatever the best explanation for the complex underlying causes, the new arrivals are keeping house prices high. As natives leave (Cali or NY for example), residential prices should fall as demand eases. But migrants, who prefer the service jobs created by the high-income natives that can still afford higher-priced markets, do not go to areas where they would make less nominally (and probably in real terms as well given the industries in which they work) even though housing is generally more affordable in these places. Being able to guaratnee five bucks an hour, fill the belly, and send money back home is a desirable situation for the migrants but not for natives. Thus, the newly-arrives compensate for the price relaxation of native exodus (and then some). Meanwhile, wages are suppressed, making home ownership even less tenable for those remaining.
States with high foreign-born populations are beginning to look like manors. I'm going to look at metropolitan areas with high foreign-born populations to try and focus the effect. It seems reasonable that the inverse correlation between foreign-born and affordability will be even higher. Peasants come because the keeps have plenty of menial chores to be done. The peasants have work, but they can't afford to buy part of the manor. This situation is bad for the burghers, who leave because earning power is being pushed down while costs are going up. It's bad news for natives (future voters) that don't already own a home.
++Addition2++State-by-state comparisons dilute the inverse correlation between affordability and immigration a little. Looking at cities with over 500,000 people, the r-squared increases to .63 with a significance factor of zero.
Our self-immolating immigration policy is certainly making the ownership society a pipedream. I would hate to be a kid in his early twenties a few months away from graduation! Generation Y has it rough--a tidal wave of entitlement obligations for retiring baby boomers, a stagnation in wages, and growing unaffordability of housing.