Immigration: Fueling U.S. Income Inequality

Income inequality in the United States has been rapidly growing over the past four decades. That fact is evident in the growing gap between average (mean) household income and median (mid-point) household income. The gap rose by 22 percentage points between 1970 and 2010, from 14.5 percent to 36.8 percent. The rapidly rising immigrant population — especially illegal immigrants — has contributed to this troubling social trend.

While legal immigration contributes to a shrinking middle class by disproportionately adding both high income and low-income earners, illegal immigration exacerbates income inequality by adding mostly low-wage earners and thereby, depressing wages for those workers. This is especially harmful to minorities — often immigrants themselves — that have larger shares of their populations living in poverty.

Click here to read FAIR’s latest report on the effects of immigration on U.S. income.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    Support legalization and help the broken families who try to apply for visa 2007 and got canned by government.

    The spouses and families need to be reunite 2007 spouses that is waiting outside of the country to return home in the U.S.A. to their families. They paid to be legal why should they have to be without their spouse and children. They have children and a wife here that are United State citizens why should they have to wait 10years to pass before applying a waiver before they can come home to United States. We don’t through your spouse out why mine. America is made of all cultures and this land is for freedom. The law should not ban families from being together. People can’t help who you fall in love with and can’t make them stop loving them either. Miles apart and a country away, two different worlds apart but the love will never die cause love only grows stronger.
    People look at your families and picture what your life would be if your family was separated for you. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover and you might want to check your back ground of where you came from. Don’t blame Mexicans for wanting a better life. Listen we let those others in here, that harmed are country and you have the nerve to judge Mexicans., you better check again . Mexicans never did no harm to us or country. Reunite families

  2. avatar
    John Winthrop on

    A true fact that defines us,,,,,,as spoken by Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz:
    “From our beginning as a nation, we have admitted to our country and
    to citizenship, immigrants from the diverse lands of the world. We had
    faith that thereby we would best serve ourselves and mankind. This faith
    has been justified. The United States has grown great. The immigrants
    and their immediate descendants have proved themselves both loyal
    and great citizens of the country. Liberty has knit us closely together as
    Americans. From this very assembly today, we may note the common
    devotion to our country.
    America has believed that each race, each ethnic group, each religion,
    each person has something of peculiar value which they can contribute
    to the attainment of those ideals for which they are striving. America has
    believed that we must not only give to the immigrant the best that we
    have, but must preserve for America the good that is in the immigrant,
    and develop in him and her the best of which they are capable of doing.
    America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the fate
    of progress.
    My friends, you know better than I the blessings of liberty and
    freedom. Some of you have been the personal victims of oppression and
    discrimination. You can appreciate, without any prodding from me, the
    importance of the heritage and challenge you have today embraced.
    I welcome you all as citizens of America. As of today, you are equal
    citizens entitled to the same rights and privileges, and subject to the same
    obligations, as Americans, whose fathers and grandfathers, and greatgrandfathers were born in this land. I thank you, from the depths of my
    heart, for choosing our beloved country in which to work and live. May
    God bless you and guide you”…………………………………May God Bless the United States of America!!

  3. avatar

    Agree with Geedeebee and others….NOT prejuice here….TIRED of that card being played
    JUST think the employers are enjoying the CHEAP labor at the governments expense(TAX dollars
    not being paid by ILLEGALS, state and federal). ILLEGALS claim many more dependents than they have to avoid paying STATE/FEDERAL taxes. American citizens could work for $8-$9 per hour IF not paying in taxes every check.
    ILLEGALS are drawing from the SOCIAL service government departments; housing/food, HOWEVER, they
    are REFUSING to HELP fund the SYSTEM. The GOVERNMENT has GIVEN the US away with ALLOWING
    ILLEGALS to stay in the US without having to be ACCOUNTABLE for their ILLEGAL ACTS!!! Any CITIZEN
    would be RAILROADED off to JAIL for the same acts–MANY ILLEGALS are DWI–re-OFFENDERS also!!

  4. avatar

    I happened to turn to C Span and was treated to Charles Schumer spewing a big sob story about poor illegals going off to work in the early morning hours in Brooklyn. He seems to think that by legalizing these persons, wages would go up in low income jobs. He believes his poor abused illegal people could come out of the shadows and demand better wages. He did not say one word about the persons who hired the illegals and pays or the low wages, or going after them. Or the fact that illegals are the cause of low wages by working for peanuts.

  5. avatar

    There are no two ways about it. Big business wants mass immigration to lower wages. It is a simple case of supply and demand for labor. You want more money than eight dollars an hour? Too bad, we got a newly arrived guy right behind you and he’ll work for that.

    “Especially harmful to minorities”. Blacks are letting themselves get sold down the river by their leadership on this issue. The corporations that are pushing for mass immigration and guest worker visas are in many cases the very same corporations funding groups like the NAACP.

    • avatar

      I agree the employers and businesses in the USA are prostitutes without a backbone. But who will buy the products when consumers have no money? IT is a self destructive agenda. Dumb and Dumber!

      • avatar

        These people are ILLEGAL and have broken the law of the USA yet they are being coddled and sympathized with.. If they gain amnesty forget about the law of this land . Amnesty negates any respect for law.

    • avatar