The Balance of Care: Trends in the Wages and Employment of Immigrant Nurses in the U.S. between 1990 and 2000

Mary Arends-Kuenning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Recently, the transnational migration of nurses from developing countries to developed countries has received heightened attention from policymakers, health care practitioners, and the media. This paper answers questions about the changes in the number, location, wages, countries of origin, and other economic and demographic variables for foreign-born nurses and nurses’ aides and U.S. born nurses and nurses’ aides over the time period 1990 to 2000. This study is the first analysis that uses the 1990 and 2000 Census Public Use Micro Survey (PUMS) data files to address the issue of nurse migration. I find that foreign-born nurses and nurses’ aides increasingly come from developing countries and, specifically, from Africa. This raises important ethical issues, as Africa faces a severe shortage of nurses in the context of the AIDS crisis. Foreign-born nurses are shown to have higher levels of education and higher levels of labor force attachment than U.S.-born nurses.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration, Urbanization, Neighborhood and Residential Context