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为什么移民的后代在美国能够翻越经济阶梯

Why So Many Children of Immigrants Rise to the Top
为什么移民的后代在美国能够翻越经济阶梯

The lack of a shared set of facts about immigration makes it easy for accusatory and often false messages to echo loudly in the run-up to the midterm elections. J.D. Vance, a leading Republican candidate for Ohio’s open Senate seat, claimed in a recent advertisement that “Joe Biden’s open border is killing Ohioans, with more illegal drugs and more Democrat voters pouring into this country.” Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona has described immigration as “full scale invasion.” Tucker Carlson of Fox News told a guest on his show in 2017: “Go to Lowell, Mass., or Lewiston, Maine, or any place where large numbers of immigrants have been moved into a poor community, and it hasn’t become richer. It’s become poorer. That’s real.”

由于在移民问题上缺乏一套普遍认同的事实,在中期选举的准备阶段,指责和往往错误的信息很容易得到高声回响。竞逐俄亥俄州参议院席位空缺的主要共和党候选人J·D·万斯在最近的广告中声称,“乔·拜登开放边境(的政策)正在杀死俄亥俄州人,更多的非法毒品和更多的民主党选民涌入这个国家。”亚利桑那州众议员保罗·戈萨称移民是“全面入侵”。2017年,福克斯新闻的塔克·卡尔森在他的节目中告诉一位嘉宾:“去马萨诸塞州的洛厄尔看看。或者缅因州的刘易斯顿,或者任何有大量移民涌进贫困社区的地方,那里并没有变得更富裕。它们变得更穷了。这是真的。”

A new book, “Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success,” by two economists, Prof. Ran Abramitzky of Stanford and Prof. Leah Boustan of Princeton, should undercut some of the fearmongering. They linked census records to pull together what they call “the first set of truly big data about immigration.”

由斯坦福大学的拉恩·阿布拉姆茨基教授和普林斯顿大学的利亚·布斯坦教授两位经济学家合著的新书《遍地黄金——美国不为人知的移民成功故事》(Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success)应该能在一定程度上消除这些危言耸听。他们将人口普查记录联系在一起,形成了他们所谓的“第一组真正的移民大数据”。
 

Using the data set, Professor Abramitzky and Professor Boustan were able to compare the income trajectories of immigrants’ children with those of people whose parents were born in the United States. The economists found that on average, the children of immigrants were exceptionally good at moving up the economic ladder.

利用这些数据集,阿布拉姆茨基和布斯坦将移民子女的收入轨迹与父母在美国出生者的收入轨迹进行比较。经济学家们发现,平均而言,移民的子女在提升经济地位方面表现格外出色。

Immigrants and their children are assimilating into the United States as quickly now as in the past, the economists found. That’s in line with recent research into the effects of immigration. While “first-generation immigrants are more costly to governments than are the native-born,” according to a 2017 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the “second generation are among the strongest fiscal and economic contributors in the U.S.”

经济学家们发现,移民及其子女融入美国的速度与过去一样快。这与最近关于移民影响的研究一致。根据美国国家学院2017年的一份报告,尽管“对政府来说,第一代移民的成本比本土出生者更高”,但“第二代移民是美国最强大的财政和经济贡献者之一”。

Second-generation-immigrant success stories have long been a part of America’s history. Looking at census records from 1880, the researchers found that men whose fathers were low-income immigrants made more money as adults than the sons of low-income men born in the United States. (They focused on sons because it was harder to track women from one census to the next, since so many adopted their husbands’ names at marriage.) Because of privacy restrictions, they had access to individual data only through the 1940 census. They used other sources for subsequent years.

第二代移民的成功故事一直是美国历史的一部分。研究人员查阅了1880年的人口普查记录,发现父亲是低收入移民的男性成年后,比在美国出生的低收入男性的儿子赚得更多。(他们之所以把重点放在儿子身上,是因为从一次人口普查到下一次人口普查,追踪女性的难度更大,因为很多女性在结婚后都随夫姓。)由于隐私限制,他们只能通过1940年的人口普查获得个人数据。对于此后的年份,他们使用了其他来源。

Professor Abramitzky and Professor Boustan observed the same pattern a century later. Children born around 1980 to men from Mexico, India, Brazil and almost every other country outearned the children of U.S.-born men.

阿布拉姆茨基和布斯坦看到一个世纪后有同样的模式。1980年前后,来自墨西哥、印度、巴西以及几乎所有其他国家的男性所生子女的收入都超过了在美国本土出生的男性所生子女。

“America really does have golden streets that allow immigrants to quickly make more than they could have earned at home,” they write. But, they add, “moving up the economic ladder in America — and catching up to the U.S.-born — takes time.”

他们写道:“美国确实遍地黄金,让移民能迅速赚到比他们在本国更多的钱。”但是,他们还说,“在美国的经济阶梯上攀升——赶上在美国出生者——需要时间。”

Once Professor Abramitzky and Professor Boustan found abundant evidence of second-generation immigrants’ upward mobility, they tried to figure out why those children did so well.

阿布拉姆茨基和布斯坦发现了第二代移民向上流动的大量证据,他们试图找出这些孩子表现如此出色的原因。

They arrived at two answers. First, the children had an easy time outdoing parents whose careers were inhibited by poor language skills or a lack of professional credentials. The classic example is an immigrant doctor who winds up driving a cab in the United States.

他们得出了两个答案。首先,孩子们很容易超越那些因语言能力差或缺乏职业资质而发展受阻的父母。一个典型的例子是,一个移民医生最后在美国开出租车。

Second, immigrants tended to settle in parts of the country experiencing strong job growth. That gave them an edge over native-born Americans who were firmly rooted in places with faltering economies. Immigrants are good at doing something difficult: leaving behind relatives, friends and the familiarity of home in search of prosperity. The economists found that native-born Americans who do what immigrants do — move toward opportunity — have children who are just as upwardly mobile as the children of immigrants.

其次,移民倾向于在就业增长强劲的地区定居。这让他们比那些扎根于经济衰退地区的本土美国人更有优势。移民们擅长做一种困难的事情:离开亲友和熟悉的家乡去寻找繁荣。经济学家们发现,美国本土出生者如果做了移民所做的事情——通过搬迁去寻找机会——其子女就会和移民子女一样向上流动。

Looking at maps of where immigrants have settled at different points in time, it’s clear that those regions were also areas of productivity and economic growth. In 1910, European immigrants went to work in the factories of the Midwest and New England. In 1980, immigrants from elsewhere in the Americas filled jobs in rapidly growing parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Florida.

看看移民在不同时间点定居的地图,很明显,这些地区也是生产力和经济增长的地区。1910年,欧洲移民来到中西部和新英格兰的工厂工作。1980年,来自美洲其他地方的移民填补了得克萨斯州、新墨西哥州、亚利桑那州、加利福尼亚州和佛罗里达州快速增长的部分地区的就业岗位。

If immigrants are so upwardly mobile, why doesn’t it seem that way? One reason is that there are more newcomers than there have been in decades and most haven’t had time yet to get ahead. The share of foreign-born people in the United States is back to the levels of the first two decades of the 20th century.

如果移民是向上流动的,为什么情况看上去并非如此?其中一个原因是,新移民的数量比过去几十年都多,而大多数人还没有足够的时间向前发展。在美国,外国出生人口的比例已经回到20世纪头20年的水平。

Another reason is that most immigrants are arriving well below native-born Americans socioeconomically. They are more likely, Professor Abramitzky and Professor Boustan found, than immigrants of the past to come from countries that are significantly poorer than the United States, including El Salvador, India and Vietnam. But it’s those immigrants who start at the bottom who ascend the most. In contrast, affluent, educated immigrants tend to be the least upwardly mobile, simply because they’re already at or near the top.

另一个原因是,多数移民的社会经济地位远低于本土出生的美国人。阿布拉姆茨基和布斯坦发现,与过去的移民相比,新移民更有可能来自萨尔瓦多、印度和越南等比美国贫穷得多的国家。但正是那些从底层开始的移民的进步是最大的。相比之下,富裕、受过良好教育的移民往往是向上流动最慢的,原因很简单,他们已经或接近顶端。

Professor Abramitzky and Professor Boustan dispute the argument that immigrants frequently take jobs from native-born Americans. Less skilled immigrants gravitate toward jobs for which there is relatively little competition from native-born Americans, such as picking crops, while highly skilled immigrants often create more jobs for native-born Americans by starting businesses and inventing things, they write.

阿布拉姆茨基和布斯坦对移民经常抢走本土美国人工作的观点提出了异议。他们写道,技术水平较低的移民倾向于从事与本土美国人竞争相对较小的工作,比如采摘作物,而高技术移民往往通过创业和发明创造为本土美国人创造更多的就业机会。

The research of Professor Abramitzky and Professor Boustan has made headlines before, but in their new book they broaden and deepen the narrative with excerpts from diaries and oral histories of immigrants. Signe Tornbloom, 18, a daughter of hardscrabble Swedish farmers, immigrated alone in 1916 after receiving a letter that said, more or less: “Well, you’d better come over here. Everything is much better than it is at home.”

阿布拉姆茨基和布斯坦的研究以前就曾经上过新闻,但在他们的新书中,他们从移民日记和口述历史中摘录了一些内容,从而扩大和深化了叙事。18岁的西涅·托恩布鲁姆是瑞典贫苦农民的女儿。1916年,她独自移民到美国,因为她收到一封信,信上说,“好吧,你最好还是过来。一切都比家乡好多了。”

The notion that immigrants have become a permanent underclass, isolated from the American mainstream, is popular among immigration restrictionists — as well as among some pro-immigration groups that say immigrants need more help to break out of poverty. The truth is that today’s immigrants are advancing just as swiftly as those of the past. “The American dream,” Professor Abramitzky said in an interview, “is just as alive now as it was a century ago.”

移民已经成为永久的下层阶级,与美国主流社会隔绝开来的观点,在支持限制移民者当中很流行——然而,在一些支持移民的团体中也是如此,这些团体认为,移民需要更多帮助才能摆脱贫困。事实是,如今的移民和过去的移民进步一样迅速。“如今的美国梦,”阿布拉姆茨基在一次采访中说,“和一个世纪之前一样鲜活。”
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