The Unauthorized Immigrant Population: Two Technical Excercises

This blog entry has two nice technical pieces. The first describes how PEW Hispanic (and others) estimate the undocumented population in the US. The second is a life-table exercise, which shows how many of the undocumented population will die waiting for citizenship – assuming a 13 year wait time.

Unauthorized Immigrants: How Pew Research Counts Them and What We Know About Them
Interview with Jeff Passel | Pew Hispanic
April 17, 2013
In this interview, Passel describes how he estimates the undocumented population in the US – including the other characteristics of this population, e.g., occupation, current residence, family composition, etc. using data from the Current Population Survey.

As a note, most of the reports PEW Hispanic writes on the undocumented population have an appendix, which provides a more technical description of the methodology. See page 25 of the following report for an example: Cohen, D’Vera and Jeff Passel. 2011. “Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010″ Pew Hispanic: February 1, 2011.

The life-table exercise is from Philip Cohen’s Family Inequality blog.

How many people should die waiting for citizenship? 319,462?
Philip Cohen | Family Inequality Blog
April 24, 2013

This is a life-table exercise, taking the current age distribution of the undocumented population in the US and applying a life-table for Hispanics to the numbers. He describes his assumptions and invites folks to re-calibrate the numbers.

Note that Cohen takes a dig at Reinhart and Rogoff [previous PSC Infoblog entry] by making his spreadsheet available. And, he notes “If you don’t like the way Excel does the maths, by all means, fix it in R.”

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