The good news: the latest Hispanics youths are learning English, they aren't committing as many crimes as their predecessors, and aren't very politically ambitious on the whole. The bad news: they aren't studying very hard, aren't showing much in the way of smarts, aren't starting many businesses, aren't participating much in Silicon Valley, are voting steadily Democratic, are using a fair amount of welfare, aren't generating all that much tax revenue, aren't getting married, and so forth and so on.
Moreover, their fields of academic concentration are not where the most economically fertile growth will probably occur. At California State University in 2008, just 1.7 percent of master’s degree students in computer science were Mexican-American, as were just 3.6 percent of students in engineering master’s programs. The largest percentage of Mexican-American enrollment in M.A. programs was in education—40 percent—despite (or perhaps because of) Mexican-Americans’ low test scores.
The future mismatch between labor supply and demand is likely to raise wages for college-educated workers, while a glut of workers with a high school diploma or less will depress wages on the low end and contribute to an increased demand for government services, especially among the less educated Hispanic population. U.S.-born Hispanic households in California already use welfare programs (such as cash welfare, food stamps, and housing assistance) at twice the rate of U.S.-born non-Hispanic households, according to an analysis of the March 2011 Current Population Survey by the Center for Immigration Studies. Welfare use by immigrants is higher still. In 2008–09, the fraction of households using some form of welfare was 82 percent for households headed by an illegal immigrant and 61 percent for households headed by a legal immigrant.