Annual change in U.S. GDP under different scenarios | 2009-2019
Annual change in U.S. GDP under different scenarios | 2009-2019

What Works

We are able to see the results of three hypothetical assumptions regarding the treatment of unauthorized immigrants and the impact that could have on the GDP of the US from 2009-2019. While I often advocate trend lines for showing changes over time, in this case, what we are interested in is not just a trend over time, but the difference between the three outcomes in each year. For that reason, the choice of bars works better than would the choice of trend lines. Seeing all the three options on the same graph neatly summarizes the overall findings of the report. If you are interested in learning more about just how these projections were made, all of that is detailed in the report [link below in references]. One important note that the report mentioned more than once is that the cost of the mass deportation scenario does not include the cost of deporting individuals (which would be legal and physical), it just represents the impact on the economy of removing unauthorized workers.

What Needs Work

I snipped this graphic out of a report, so the following critique is for me more than for the graphic creator. Because this kind of projection requires so many assumptions and simplifications, providing summaries of the most critical assumptions is necessary for the proper cognitive digestion of the infographic. The report contains sufficient discussion and references, but in a world where people like me clip graphics and stick them in other reports or on blogs, savvy designers will include longer captions [the original caption is included in the image file] or other explanatory text even if that same information is included in the formal text. Hyper text culture is spreading. It is far more common now to put together a little bit of this from here and a little bit of that from over there in search of just that bit of information that we think we want rather than reading/watching the full, originally constituted work. Love it or hate it, this hyperlink no place is the place where we have arrived.


Hinojosa-Ojeda, Raúl. (7 January 2010) “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform”. Center for American Progress.