How each of the attributes, as measured by the percentage of persons from each nation who fulfill the definition of as much, correlate with average estimated IQ of the migrants' country of origin (all of these relationships are statistically significant):
Using one or more welfare programs -- (.58)
Self-employed -- .56
Without health insurance -- (.48)
Less than a high school education -- (.46)
Bachelor's and beyond -- .45
In poverty -- (.44)
These relationships come as a bit of a surprise. I supposed I might end up using them as a seque into pointing out how group averages often tell us little about specific individuals within those groups. The notorious success of Indian immigrants had given me that impression.
From this, I could plug my support for a merit immigration system designed to skim the cream of the world's crop for the benefit of the US, making note of the fact that while the residencies granted by such a program might proxy weakly with race/ethnicity, the numbers wouldn't be driven by it.
Okay, so the proxy would likely be stronger than I'd envisioned. It's still a good idea.
Indians in the US are a special case. India's migrant profile is an outlier (as is Iran's to a lesser degree). The world's second most populous country is a diverse place, and we're almost certainly getting more than our share of its upper crust (Brahmins). If India is removed from the analyses, all but one of the relationships become noticeably stronger:
Using one or more welfare programs -- (.67)
Self-employed -- .55
Without health insurance -- (.53)
Less than a high school education -- (.51)
Bachelor's and beyond -- .60
In poverty -- (.49)
Based on those six factors, I've created a simple index to rate the top 25 nations from which our foreign-born population originates. The scores correlate with estimated IQ at .57, and .65 with India removed.
The non-Hispanic native white performance is set at 100. I gave equal weight to each of the factors, which probably inflates the numbers on education and underappreciates welfare use (or a lack thereof). Nonetheless, the rankings certainly have face validity:
|Rank||Country of origin||Merit index|
|x||n-H White natives||100.0|
Why are Peruvians so successful relative to immigrants from other Latin American countries? Despite the Uribe government's attempts to break the FARC, Colombia is one of the most chaotic countries in South America, so it's not surprising that, as it was for fleeing Cubans from the sixties onward, resourcefulness is being selected for to some extent.
Native Hispanics appear to fall comfortably in the middle of their 'ancestral' Latin American homes. But the Mexican contribution is larger than the total contribution of all the other Latin American countries combined. So we're seeing what is already known--subsequent generations of Hispanics tend to improve over the first generation that spawned them. But they do not reach white or Asian levels of success, coming instead to rest in a position slightly happier than that of black Americans.
The farther they have to travel, and the fewer who actually make the move, the better those who do come will fare stateside, right? Nearly one-fifth of Mexico's native population currently lives in the US, and Mexican migrants rank near the bottom of US society by almost every measure. The correlation between the number of migrants from a country and its merit index score is an inverse .37, though it is outside 95% confidence (the r-value is surprisingly high given a p-value of over .07 due to how heavily Mexico, with the largest population and worst performance, weighs on the numbers).
That isn't the case for immigrants from Canada, however. America Junior isn't alone in bucking the trend. In fact, when Mexico is removed from the analysis, the relationship disappears completely.
A point to take from this is that thinking about immigration involves more than just entertaining a few questions that pertain to how many have come and will continue to come, and what the annual numerical limit on residencies granted each year should be.
Ellis Island nostalgia doesn't work due to the sheer number of contemporary immigrants, a major expansion in the public safety net since the first wave, civilizational (in Huntington's definition of the word) disparities between immigrants then and immigrants now, and vastly different needs for manual labor and geographic expansion in the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth Century compared to today.
It also doesn't work as an argument in favor of unfettered Hispanic immigration. One can easily favor leaving the door open to nations that sent immigrants before 1924 and still favor the construction of a wall, an end to underclass immigration from Latin America, tough employer sanctions, and the like. All immigrants are not the same (something open borders advocates like the WSJ op/ed board don't seem to get).