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Oct 1, 2023Liked by Joshua Collins

Hi Joshua! Thanks for linking to your article via Twitter. I really appreciated reading this.

Question for you: Where I live (Vancouver), housing prices are terribly high. What would you say to those expressing concern that higher levels of immigration would fuel housing demand even further, thereby contributing to an increase in prices?

I recognize that part of the reason supply isn't happening quickly enough is partly due to a tight constructing labour market, which immigration can help alleviate. Still, if there were no controls on immigration levels, would we not run the risk of being in a situation where the supply side will never be able to keep up? Similar pressures on schools and other public services come to mind (i.e. not enough spaces).

Anyway, eager to read your response, as I'm pro immigration on moral grounds, but the economic side has me somewhat perplexed.

Cheers

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Hi Stephen!

Thank so much for the question. You know, it's really interesting, a friend of mine brought this up not long ago. I haven't seen any data that suggests migrants make housing costs go up. This seems like on of those examples of people conflating two separate issues.

BUT, we do have data on two related phenomenon.

One: migrants are more likely to be in need of housing than natural born citizens in Canada, and their pressence isn't what is driving up costs. An article on that subject here: https://macleans.ca/politics/stopping-immigration-wont-fix-canadas-housing-crisis/#:~:text=Partially.,were%20in%20core%20housing%20need.

"I recognize that part of the reason supply isn't happening quickly enough is partly due to a tight constructing labour market, which immigration can help alleviate. Still, if there were no controls on immigration levels, would we not run the risk of being in a situation where the supply side will never be able to keep up? Similar pressures on schools and other public services come to mind (i.e. not enough spaces)."

Yeah! Super complicated right? The problem though stems from bad planning more than anything else, but, as we mentioned in the piece, politicians and business leaders never want to take responsibility for their errors— and why would they? Migrants are right there, ripe for scapegoating.

The one argument I have heard in all my time covering migration that is actually data-based is that a very large migration can put short-term stress on health and education programs. But migrants contribute more in taxes than they take in services, and as a bonus generate economic impetus beyond simple taxes.

So that short-term strain is paid back to the state with dividends. We'd need to talk to some people in this field about housing I think, but I imagine migration would work similarly.

As you mention, you know what group of people make great workers in Construction? Yep, as you said, migrants.

Miami, during the Mariel boatlift experienced a massive construction boom when tens of thousands of migrants arrived to the city in just a few weeks. Seems like North America in general could use that right now

https://www.npr.org/transcripts/1149875505

But I love these conversations!

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Sep 20, 2023Liked by Joshua Collins

Wow. This article, again, is super powerful and I am really inspired by it.

I just want to shove it in every single person's face \o/

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Thanks Moya! And thanks for reading, as always

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