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International Journal of Population Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 546201, 17 pages
Research Article

Identifying Rates of Emigration in the United States Using Administrative Earnings Records

Congressional Budget Office, Long-Term Modeling Group, 2nd and D Streets, SW, Washington, DC 20515, USA

Received 16 September 2010; Accepted 6 May 2011

Academic Editor: Oliver Duke-Williams

Copyright © 2011 Jonathan A. Schwabish. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper undertakes a new strategy to estimate emigration rates among US immigrants by inferring the probability of emigration using longitudinal administrative earnings data. Two groups of emigrants are evaluated separately: those who emigrate from the United States and those who leave both the United States and the Social Security system. About 1.0 to 1.5 percent of the foreign-born population emigrate from the USA every year, and between about 0.8 and 1.2 percent of foreign-born workers emigrate from the Social Security system. Regression analysis suggests that immigrants with lower earnings are more likely to emigrate and that the likelihood of emigrating from the United States increases with age, but is unchanged for those leaving the US Social Security system.