Terry Jeffrey

If you simultaneously accept estimates published by the Census Bureau and the Chief Actuary of Social Security, then illegal aliens who misused Social Security numbers to work illegally in the United States in 2010 earned more on average than American women did.

The Office of the Chief Actuary published an analysis in April 2013 entitled, "Effects of Unauthorized Immigration on the Actuarial Status of the Social Security Trust Funds." It included this question and answer:

"Question: Of the unauthorized workers paying OASDI (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) taxes, what is the average level of earnings upon which the taxes are levied and how does that level compare with the broader U.S. labor force?

"Answer: We assume the average level of taxable earnings for these unauthorized workers equals about 80 percent of the average level for all workers. For 2010, we estimate this average level for these unauthorized workers to be about $34,000."

The Census Bureau's historical income Table P-43 lists "Workers (Both Sexes Combined) by Median Earnings and Mean Earnings."

This table says that in 2010, American workers had mean earnings of $42,494. The $34,000 in average taxable earnings the Chief Actuary estimated for illegal aliens paying OASDI taxes does indeed equal 80 percent of that.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau's Table P-42 lists "Workers by Mean Earnings and Sex." It says female workers in the United States in 2010 had mean earnings of $33,771 (in 2010 dollars).

That is slightly less than the $34,000 in average taxable earnings the Chief Actuary estimated for unauthorized workers misusing Social Security Numbers.

However, the Chief Actuary's analysis concedes that estimating the relationship between the illegal alien population and the flow of money in an out of the Social Security program is not easy.

"The difficulty lies in determining what portion of total taxes paid to and benefits received from the Social Security Trust Funds derive from the earnings of these immigrants," says the analysis. "We can only estimate these amounts using the best available information."

The Chief Actuary's analysis concluded there were a total 7 million unauthorized workers in the United States in 2010. It divided these unauthorized workers into two basic categories: 3.9 million who worked in what it called "the underground economy," and 3.1 million who misused Social Security Numbers to secure jobs for which their employers withheld taxes.

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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