Kristin Butcher '86 on Economic Impact of Increased Child Immigration

August 19, 2014
children sleeping in refugee center

You’ve probably seen the images: thousands of child migrants held in detention cells, sharing cramped floor spaces. The so-called “child migrant surge” is expected to bring an estimated 74,000 migrant children across American borders this year.

Questions circle about their fate and the impact of their presence in the United States. Kristin Butcher ’86, Marshall I. Goldman Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department, and experts from others disciplines, spoke with the website Wallet Hub about the possible economic implications.

According to Butcher, an influx of 74,000 people is a “very small increase in the number of people in the United States and would have virtually no short-term or long-term effects on the U.S. economy.”

Butcher notes that although estimates of the impact on the U.S. economy vary, the effect is “generally estimated to be overall a net positive, with immigrants generating more in tax revenues than they receive in government services.”

Butcher, a distinguished researcher on labor and health economics and a Wellesley alumna, teaches a course on the economics of immigration, which surveys the modern economics literature on immigration.

Read “Ask the Experts: The Economic Impact of the Child Migrant Surge” on Wallet Hub, the news and resources outlet for Evolution Finance.

Photo: Getty Images