11/03/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Non-Citizen Immigrant Households Experience Sharp Decline in Income

The median annual income of non-citizen immigrant households fell 7.3% from 2006 to 2007. In contrast, the median annual income of all U.S. households increased 1.3% during the same period. A Pew Hispanic Center report released this week analyzes recent trends in the incomes of the nation's 8.2 million non-citizen immigrant households and identifies who among them experienced the largest losses. About half (45%) of non-citizen immigrant households are headed by an undocumented immigrant.

The decline in the economic fortunes of non-citizen households represents a sharp turnaround from the preceding year. Incomes of non-citizen households in 2006 were 4.1% higher than income levels in 2005. Incomes of all U.S. households, meanwhile, had increased 0.7%.

Overall, the income of non-citizen households has displayed great instability in the past decade, fluctuating much more than the average for all U.S. households. For example, household income for non-citizens increased 9.8% in 2000, the last year of an historic expansion, and fell 4.2% in 2001, the first year of a recession and economic slowdown.

The Center's estimates show that household incomes have fallen most for non-citizens who are Hispanic; from Mexico, other Latin American countries and the Caribbean; recently arrived; males, either unmarried or with no spouse present; lacking a high school education; and employed in construction, production or service occupations. Those characteristics of non-citizen households experiencing declines in income that are higher than average are also associated with likely undocumented status for the head of household.

The report is available on the Center's website,

The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a non-partisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.