Welfare Reform and Immigrant Fertility
Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes (),
Susan Averett () and
Cynthia Bansak ()
Additional contact information
Cynthia Bansak: St. Lawrence University
No 8153, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Immigration policy continues to be at the forefront of policy discussions, and the use of welfare benefits by immigrants has been hotly debated. In 1996, Congress enacted welfare reform legislation (PRWORA), which denied the use of most means-tested assistance to non-citizens and lowered immigrant welfare dramatically. While Federal legislation imposed strict restrictions on eligibility for non-citizens, a number of states allowed previously eligible women to continue to receive benefits similar to those before 1996, whereas others imposed the new Federal cutbacks. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) for the years 1994-2000, we examine whether immigrant women adjusted their childbearing in response to cutbacks in the generosity of welfare benefits at the state-level. Our findings suggest that non-citizen women, especially those of Hispanic origin, altered their fertility decisions in response to the legislation. In addition, they increased their labor force participation, possibly to obtain employer-sponsored benefits. Our results are robust to alternative definitions of our treatment and control groups and do not appear to be driven by pre-existing trends. Finally, we find no evidence that women who anticipated having children migrated to the more generous states. Overall, the results provide further evidence that immigrants respond to variation in state-level policies and provide insight into the potential impacts of comprehensive immigration reform, particularly the components related to the path to citizenship and access to public benefits.
Keywords: immigration; fertility; welfare reform (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mig
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations Track citations by RSS feed
Published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2016, 29(3), 757-779.
Downloads: (external link)
Journal Article: Welfare reform and immigrant fertility (2016)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8153
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Mark Fallak ().