West Indies and Caribbean Immigrants' Earnings in the United States: The Penalites Associated with English Proficiency and Racial Self Identification

David Embrick, Texas A&M University
Rogelio Saenz, Texas A&M University
Marie Cristina Morales, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Research on future U.S. race relations suggest that racial discrimination, especially by employers in the job market, may be determined by skin tone and proficiency of the English language. The influence of these two factors may be especially detrimental to immigrants of color such as those from the West Indies and the Caribbean. The purpose of this research is to examine the impact that skin tone and language proficiency may have on the earnings of West Indies. The earnings of Russian immigrants serve as a comparison group. We use data from the 2000 U.S. Census 5% PUMS to compare the effects of skin tone and language proficiency on earnings. We find when West Indies and Russian immigrants are compared, skin color and language proficiency determine wage earnings. However, with the exception of language proficiency, there is no evidence that skin color is a factor that influences wage earnings for women.

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Presented in Session 93: Racial/Ethnic Formations and Immigration