Some recent news about the differential wealth of migrants from different countries lead me to examine two sets of international data: What are the 20 richest nations (and territories) in the world and what are the 20 nations contributing the most to our foreign-born population?
What I found were two quite different lists, with only one name on both lists: Germany. Data for the richest countries is from the International Monetary Fund and data for those sending us the most immigrants is from the U.S. Census:
Comparing the Richest 20 Nations and Territories
|The Rich Nations
||The Sending Nations
GDP in Int$
in U.S., 2016
|9||United Arab Emirates||68,245|||||9||South Korea||1,041,727|
|14||Saudi Arabia||55,263|||||14||United Kingdom||696,896|
Clearly the Swiss are not sending us their bankers nor the Saudis their princes, but two other nations, places with low average incomes and huge populations, do dominate what might be regarded as the wealth rankings among our immigrant population.
As proxies for migrant wealth, I nominate three categories, two fairly obvious ones, and a third one that emerged quite recently.
The first is the EB-5 immigrant investor program, where pure wealth is required. The second is the H-1B program, where wealth as reflected in college attendance is the measure. The third, and newest, is the likelihood of an alien in trouble being able — with the assistance of an attorney in most cases — to be bonded out of detention and the median size of those bonds.
We are comparing the numbers of aliens in the first two categories to the success percentages in the third. (The sheer volume of applications for bonding do not reflect wealth, only a wealth of people in trouble; the success percentages are a better reflection of money and power.)
Measure 1: EB-5
Source: "FY2018 EB-5 Visas by
Country", Lucid Professional
Writing, EB-5 Blog, January 7,
Measure 2: H-1B
Measure 3: Bonds Granted
Source: " Importance of Nationality in
Immigration Court Bond Decisions",
TRAC program Syracuse University.
This means that a very high percentage of Indian nationals seeking bonds (rather than detention) got their way, but at a substantial price. People from other nations, in the same bind, were less likely to succeed and likely to need smaller bonds. It is a strange, even perverse, measurement of wealth, but it is one.
So China has one first and two seconds; India has two firsts and one third; and the only other country with two or more places was South Korea, with two fourths.
My sense is that if you are prosperous in a peaceful, prosperous place, you're likely to stay there — hence the extreme shortages of Donald Trump's favorite nationality, the Norwegians; in 2016, only one out of every 3,176 new immigrants to the United States was from Norway. The total was 362 that year.
But if you are prosperous in a nervous-making nation, you will try to find a better place to live, and hence the high scores for India and, particularly, China in these proxy measures of well-to-do migrants.