So far we have looked at state productivities and median household income. We also looked at the unemployment rates as well as the poverty rates for the states. Today, I am adding four other important metrics to our examination of the question of whether immigrants are beneficial or important to the US. Each of the metrics that we have already looked at, the ones we will look at today and the ones we will look at in the next two days cannot stand on their own to answer the question about the immigrants in the country. This is because each metric has other factors driving it.
However, in the cumulative, it might be possible to see if a correlation exists between them and the immigrant populations to see if we can answer the pending question.
The first metric that I am sharing with you today is the cost to educate each pupil in each state. Like all the other metrics, there are issues of public policy and other factors that contributes to the cost of educating students. However, teaching students is paid for by taxes at the federal level as well as state and local taxes. As pointed out earlier, taxes are also public policy driven, however, the cost to educate each student is a good comparison metric because all the states use federal, state and local dollars to pay for the education. Also, education has federal-level mandates that must be met making the comparisons more equal.
The states with the highest immigrant populations, except for New York, tend to have higher costs to educate their students. However, they are not the most expensive. New York, with the second largest immigrant population has one of the lowest costs to educate their students. New Jersey, which has the third largest immigrant concentration also has the fourth least expense for educating their students. Although the assumption might be that the states with the highest Mexican immigrant populations may have the highest student costs, the metrics are divided on this. California and Texas are in the higher half of the student expense trend, but they are not the highest. However, Arizona, Idaho and Utah, which include the top ten populations of Mexican immigrants, do have the highest costs to educate their students. Mississippi and Tennessee with lower immigrant populations, including Mexicans, also have some of the highest costs to educate their student populations, as well.
State Reliance on Federal Aid
Each state receives federal monies as federal aid for various federal programs, including education and health services. The Tax Foundation compiled a ranking of the amount of federal aid that states received in 2013. Like all the other metrics, federal aid is driven by various factors including public policy. Nonetheless, the rankings allow us to see if any correlation exists with the immigrant population.
As you can clearly see from the map above, the states receiving the highest amounts of federal aid; Mississippi, Tennessee, South Dakota are three of the states with the lowest immigrant populations. The states with the largest immigrant population concentrations, have the lowest needs for federal aid. Like all the other metrics used in my examination, one metric is not sufficient to make a determination about the immigrant populations in the US.
In addition to the issue of the cost to educate student populations, the costs to provide health services is often cited as a tax burden caused by immigrant populations. Comparing health costs is also difficult because the costs are also driven by various factors, including public policy. However, the Affordable Health Care Act, or ObamaCare, gives us an opportunity to compare health insurance coverage in each state. This is because health insurance coverage is mandated by law.
As you can see from the map above, the State of Florida is the only state with a strong immigrant population that has one of the worst health insurance coverages per population. The most immigrant populous states tend to lean towards the least health covered states by population. However, except for Florida, the other five most immigrant populated states do not correspond to the five worst health insurance covered states.
Cost of Living
As initially pointed out in this study, the Cost of Living metric is highly subjective in nature. Nonetheless, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center compiled a Cost of Living Index averaging several city indices for the third quarter of 2016.
The Cost of Living index includes many factors, however and as you can see from the map above, the most expensive states, except for California, do not correlate with the most immigrant populous states.
Although the economic trends for the lack of health insurance coverage and the cost to educate students in each state tends to increase with the immigrant population mix, there is no direct correlation between the highest costs in relation to the immigrants in the state.
As a matter of fact, the states that rely the most on federal aid are the states with the least number of immigrants in them.
So far we have looked at metrics about jobs, taxes and poverty. The data does not suggest that higher immigrant concentrations in a state determines worse job conditions or higher costs in education and health. The data, so far, tends to suggest that immigrants are no more a factor on these metrics then are other factors such as public policies.
Tomorrow we will look at the other significant immigrant issue – the issue of security. Although the debate tends to be focused on border security, the issue should instead focus on data metrics that are quantifiable, like crime rates in the states.