This paper presents an empirical analysis of immigrant participation in
the welfare system using the 1970 and 1980 U.S. Censuses. The availability
of two cross-sections allows for identification of cohort and assimilation
effects. The data indicate that recent immigrant cohorts use the welfare
system more intensively than earlier cohorts. In addition, the longer an
immigrant household has been in the United States, the more likely it is to
receive welfare. The analysis also suggests that a single factor, the
changing national origin mix of the immigrant flow, accounts for much of the
increase in welfare participation rates across successive immigrant waves.
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