What Americans Can Learn From Immigrants

Why do foreigners who come to America prosper while our own citizens can’t seem to make ends meet?

The answer is simple; people that come here from another country do not have the high expectations that our own citizens have.

I’ve seen many Americans who can’t pay their utility bills and yet they eat out, pay for cable television, buy high dollar coffees, own expensive electronics equipment and consider luxury items necessities.

What do immigrants do differently?


  • Less Possessions

They don’t own a lot of excess stuff. Less clothing and gadgets saves money. When you don’t have a lot of things you don’t have to have a large home to store them. Not buying these extras saves you a lot of money.


  • They Live Together

Sharing living accommodations and bills saves you a lot of dough. They share childcare, housekeeping and cooking chores. Everybody chips in and does their part.


  • No Extras

Americans think that fancy coffees, eating out, pay television, high dollar electronic gadgets and getting pedicures are necessities---they aren’t. People new to this country are able to make it because they do more with less.

They cook their own meals, make their own drinks, paint their own toenails and entertain themselves without extra gadgets. Water is cheap and in some cases free, we don’t drink enough of it and it is good for us.

  • Services

Laundry, hair cuts, childcare, lawn care and house cleaning are all done at home or bartered with friends and family. Think of all the things you pay to have done and they do it themselves or do without.


  • Reuse Resources

They save money by using cloth diapers instead of disposable ones, no throw away dishes or napkins and wearing used clothing. America has so much waste we don’t know what to do with it all.


  • Eat Less

Look around you and you will see a lot of obese people. Where I live it is a big problem. Immigrants eat much less and in many cases they eat healthier than our own citizens. Vegetables are first on their menu, next carbohydrates and last meat.

Eat until you are full. Don’t eat to have something to do.

Thinner people take up less room, are not as hard on furniture, are more agile and can do more work. Overweight people have more health problems.



  • Walk More

They often don’t own cars so they use public transportation or walk. Even when they ride the bus, train or subway they usually have a way to go before they get there.

Walking is good exercise. Healthy people don’t get sick as often.


  • No Vehicle

Cars are expensive. Not having a vehicle saves you money on gas, upkeep, parking, taxes and insurance. Not everyone can do without a vehicle and depending on where you live even some immigrants have to have transportation but if you live in a big city you can often do without one.


  • Appreciate Free Education

There are a lot of countries that have to pay big bucks for their kids to go to school. I realize our taxes pays for education here but it is still comparatively cheaper than many other countries. Not only that, if they make good grades, score high on the ACT or SAT they can get part or all of their college paid for here.

American kids aren’t always taught the importance of an education. They take for granted the opportunities they have in this country. Many do the bare minimum to get through school and don’t try as hard as they should. Too many families and school systems put more importance on sports than academics.


  • Work Hard

Our own people whine when they have to do a little more, many play on social network sites while on the job and others look for ways to get disability so they can sit at home with pay. In a word, most Americans are Lazy.

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

Mark Twain

Immigrants who come here work hard and take pride in what they do even if it is sweeping a floor. They do more for less and Americans see them as a threat. Meanwhile we enjoy the benefits of their cheap labor at restaurants and stores and after they have built our roads, railroads, picked our crops and dug for coal.

Most citizens aren’t willing to do these jobs for the same amount of pay but are angry because of the people who are eager to do the work. I could go on about how higher wages drives up the price of goods but that isn’t what this article is about.


  • Respect Our Country

To become a citizen you have to memorize our national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and The Declaration of Independence. Most people born here don’t have a clue about any of these as we learned when celebrities are invited to sing The Star Spangled Banner. American kids are born thinking the world owes them everything and they don’t have to work for any of it.

Our country isn’t perfect but it’s better than a lot of places or foreigners wouldn’t be killing themselves to get in.

Everyone reading this has ancestors that were new to this country unless you are Amerindian. At one time your people struggled, worked hard and in some cases were discriminated against.

We could learn from immigrants how lucky we are to live in this country. We could learn to not take our freedom for granted and we could learn that working hard for what we have is our duty and no one owes us a damn thing.

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Comments 41 comments

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Hi Pamela, It seems we have provided one another fodder for writing. Yes, many immigrants do all of these things, but then remember what is required of them in order to be here in the first place. The US is not an open door to the impoverished of other nations. New immigrants must either have family already here to sponsor them, or the resources on hand for ten years at five times the poverty level: $250,000. Generally, it is the middle-class of these nations who immigrate. Not the poor masses. Unless you speak of the poor Mexicans slipping across the border -- another problem all-together.

I do love the opening cartoon! How apropo!

I don't know what's going on in your part of the country, but I do know many Americans who live in multi-generational homes, do not buy luxuries, do not have cable TV, do not buy new clothes, do not eat out, do not buy $5 lattes. In fact, they are hard pressed to keep roofs over their heads, food on the table and gas in the car, because where I live, no car -- no transportation.

I also know many immigrants (myself included) who do do all of these things. Like the Philipina girl at the restaurant, young, pretty and married to an older American man, who works, she brags, for shoes -- her addiction, I suppose. I can afford a few luxuries. This does not lessen my compassion for the hard times doing terrible things to the lives I see all around me.

I particularly love the ending. I know far too many people who work very hard, don't think they're owed anything other than a fair chance and still can't make ends meet. The rah! rah! is just so... oh, it's best I don't say.

You are particularly hard on your fellow Americans, many of whom are victims of circumstance beyond their control. What terrible people for wanting a little butter on their bread.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Lynda, yes you reminded me of a story to write.

Things are quite different where you live. We don't have many people living in those conditions. Things are pretty cheap where I live.

I think you would be surprised how many people are brought in illegally and not all are from Mexico. We have many sweat shops, prostitution rings and restaurant workers brought in under the wire.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I worked in child-protection. I would not be surprised. But, we were speaking of legal immigration, were we not? Illegal -- I once interviewed a few illegals trying to live in this country. Tough, I mean really tough! Are you saying Americans should learn to live like illegal immigrants?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

There are legal immigrants and then there are illegal immigrants.

I live in Arizona, and our state is broke, partially because we are supporting so many illegals. The birthing center where my wife worked for 15 years closed just this month. Over half the deliveries were illegals who came here to creat a US citizen with no intention of paying the delivery bill. The state fund for indigents dried up last year, so the hospital had to absorb the cost themselves.

Finally, they were forced to close the entire birthing center.

Good Hub.


dtchosen profile image

dtchosen 5 years ago from Dumaguete City, Philippines

This is a very informative hub and there are some truth in this, but there is another side of the issue and that is the "reason" why immigrants are doing what they are doing. I'm from the Philippines and most Filipinos migrate and work hard there in the US because of the hope of having an American lifestyle here in our country or even there in the US someday when they have enough money. To some of us fancy coffees, eating out, pay television, high dollar electronic gadgets and getting pedicures are also necessities and American dollar gives us the opportunity to have those than our own peso. Its all a matter of comparative advantage.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Pamela, I have marked this hub as awesome. i am not from the USA, but the UK, and the same conditions apply here. i would love to have your hub as required reading for all my countrymen who whine, like Immartin, about how hard done by they are and how these wicked immigrants are here taking our jobs and bedding our women and taking over our free housing, If only they knew, It is so easy for immigrants to find jobs in the UK because the average Englishman is too lazy, or won't travel more than a few miles or thinks that she just has to have an illigitimate child (and then a few more) and live in a council flat for the rest of her life, never having contributed anything in taxes,

Brava, Pamela. You are wonderful.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

HI Twilight Lawns -- I whine about immigrants and how they are taking our jobs? Where? I actually wrote a hub about the restaurant trade and working for minimum wage -- mostly Americans by the way and the discussion on that moved here. Please, if you are going to attack something I said, please ensure I said it.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Lynda I was also speaking of illegal immigrants. Many come in to be prostitutes and cheap labor and they aren't all Mexican. We have east European girls that are prostitutes and Asian that work in sweat shops.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Willstar, I have mixed feelings about Mexican immigrants. I have family that are Mexicans and know how hard it is for these people to make a decent home for their families.

Until Mexico changes things and makes it better for their people they will continue to come to America.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Pamela, I think you made a lot of true statements about what I would consider legal immigrants especially when I read back in history. I found your hub very enjoyable.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Dtchosen, America also needs immigrants. Not everyone realizes it or agrees with me but none the less if they look at how things would be without people willing to work for much less they would definitely chose to have these people than to go without their inexpensive services.

The cheap nannies, housekeepers, restaurant workers and gardeners are all helping us live the high life Americans are used to living.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Twilight lawns, I say what is reality but many don't want to think about. My family is made up of a lot of interracial families some of them are immigrants and I see how they live compared to the average Western family. We have a lot to learn and we take much for granted.

I was not your average American. I breast fed my babies, put cloth diapers on them and cooked homemade meals. We seldom ate out and worked our way up. That isn't how most American or western people do things today and they are paying for it.

Thinking we have to have designer clothes, purses and expensive cars and big homes has gotten America in the rut we are in.

If you have the money of the Rockefellers that's fine but the average American does not and trying to live that way is ridiculous.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Pamela99, thank you. My family was mostly of minimal means, hard working farmers, teachers and writers and never tried to live above our means but I see so many of our neighbors buying homes, cars and clothes they can't afford and then getting upset when they lose everything.

Americans have it very good and we need to appreciate what we do have instead of trying to have too much. We live in a wonderful country but so many are still not satisfied.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

lmmartin, I received you e-mail and apologise if you took offence. I think that you must look into my statement and take it in context where I say that, "I would love to have your hub as required reading for all my countrymen who whine, like Immartin, about how hard done by they are and how these wicked immigrants are here taking our jobs etc.."

We are subjected to an absolute barrage of complaints from those in this country who are content to receive unemployment benefits, whilst making no effort to obtain work, because it is too easy. i am aware that in the USA, you are not as lax as we, and that those who live like this are legion.

I apologise, once again, if I have offended you in this matter, but you just appeared to be the tip of an offensive iceberg.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Twilight, I'm not sure how things are in the UK but here in America we do make it very easy for people to draw disability.

I knew when I wrote this that it was controversial but it was something I felt strongly about. Americans are spoiled brats that need a wake up call.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

As I said when you commented on 'How I Would Learn Your Tongue', I think perhaps I should look before I leap. My foot sometimes is stuck firmly in my mouth, but I do feel strongly about this. And I also think that there is a certain word which doesn't come into these conversations often enough, and that is "compassion". There are a hell of a lot of people in this world, who through no fault of their own, live in appalling conditions... we are so lucky, and a little bit of sharing never went amiss.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Well, Pamela N Red, you are a girl who likes to throw bricks into hornets nest. In California the system has been bleed to near bankruptcy, most emergency rooms have closed, etc. We were a land of bounty, but I see that bounty being consumed by those fleeing their poor circumstances. Never-the-less, good Hub.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Twilight I too feel strongly about this subject.

Mckbirdbks, it is hard to know how to deal with these situations. I think we should help those in need but not to the point of bankrupting a state or nation. California is in a bad situation right now and hopefully the officials will come to a conclusion that will be good for all.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I know that I am only speaking in literary parallels, but John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath' deals with "immigrant" workers, escaping the great dust bow, that was Oklahoma and fleeing to the wealth farming areas of California, where they were despised, feared and treated abominably. That novel, one of the greatest in the English language ands with a note of hope. It seems almost eloquent the the two most recent comments and replies from "protagonists" in this little wrangle are from those selfsame states. Parallels, my friend.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Twilight, here is the irony of that situation. Now people are fleeing bigger areas like California, Florida and New York for jobs in Oklahoma because we still have employment and it's cheap to live here.

The difference? We are friendly to everyone and welcome everyone with open arms. "Okies" didn't get the same reception back when they needed help during the depression.

We take that Bible verse, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," seriously.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Amen... or as my lot would say, "Amin".


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, this is interesting, along with the comments. I don't know about America, but I don't really agree with saying that the UK is lazy, I got made redundant two years ago, in fact twice from the same firm, long story! and now I can't get a job, yet when I go into any shop or office in my town and then next, it is nearly all foreigners working there. As far as I am concerned, I don't care how many come to live over here, but please give us British people the jobs first! I live on minimal money and don't go out much, especially to buy food in resteraunts or have my nails done, I just try and get by on what I have, but am still hoping for that job!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Nell, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

I'm sure even here in America we have hard working people but I see many who are not where I live.


SUSIE DUZY profile image

SUSIE DUZY 5 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

Great information. We should all learn from it.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Susie.


VENUGOPAL SIVAGNA profile image

VENUGOPAL SIVAGNA 5 years ago from India.

Very interesting hub indeed.... I have learnt several inside stories of America. But the same are the facts everywhere. Those who come and settle in a place would have planned for a long time for it. So, they would have gathered all amenities and started migrating. But for a person staying at the same place has no necessity to gather all those things. So, immigrants having more amenities is not new. After some years they also will have to live like others.

But my question is, who are the immigrants? What is illegal immigration? America was once a Red Indian country with nothing called government. The English and others came, killed the natives and began settling there some 300 years ago. If the Red Indians had the same amenities like the then immigrants, they would not have let the "illegal immigrants" enter their land. Now, no one is native and no one is immigrant in America.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Venugopal Sivagna, To be legal a person has to acquire visas or green cards. Some come in under the wire because they are poor and don't have the resources to pay for those things.

Like you say many moons a go Native Americans didn't require any of these papers and anyone was allowed in.

Once upon a time Texas and California were part of New Spain and Native people moved back and forth without need of documentation. It is during times of hardship like now that the United States enforces its borders.


recommend1 profile image

recommend1 5 years ago

I think you have a well balanced view of things here - I work in cross cultural places and the hypocrisy that surrounds the whole issue of how we percieve 'foreigners', and immigrants especially, needs to be tackled.

Well done :)


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, recommend1. I think we can learn a lot from other countries.


arksys profile image

arksys 5 years ago from Adelaide, Australia

Very interesting hub. I do agree with most of it but I feel you are being a little harsh on your people. You projected/portrayed the immgrants only as hard workers but sadly not all of them are like that.

I have lived/worked both in the UK and USA and have met a lot of legal immigrants in my time. There is a minority of immigrants who just want to become citizens then live off benefits. Some love the idea of compensation by getting hurt at work or any other way possible and making some quick cash.

someone above mentioned that the middle class people showing $250,000 are allowed to come over to USA, but that is not true. if I had that kind of money to show I would live like a king in my country, and would never even want to come to UK/USA for work. Most of the people are lower middle class who are here to support their families. half of my friends had to work hard and after all their expenses, support their families back home. That is where their money went, and that's why they did not have gadgets and expensive electronics.

I, was fortunate enough to come from a higher middle class family and did not have to support anyone but myself. I did buy gadgets and all the other good stuff this country has to offer. As dtchosen said in his comment above, everyone loves the idea of living the american life, and most immigrants are doing their best to get there.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Arksys, I have seen many immigrants and haven't met any of the lazy people you mention but there are all types of people in many walks of life. I know you don't have to have a lot of money to come here because many come with nothing but the clothes on their back.

I think those that come from another country with less to offer appreciate America more than those who have always lived here and haven't had to work very hard for what they have.


Jeff Kee 4 years ago

Quite true. I live in Canada, and the work ethics of the immigrants are very different. I see so many of my classmates who saw all the electronics, playstations & xboxes as a "must have" while 70% in school was acceptable. I had none of those growing up, and I had 90% average in class. I couldn't quite afford to go to school, so between debating a student loan option and working right away, I chose to try work. Thanks to my good grades & computer skills I got a decent job at a large corporation with full benefits & pay etc., which I got bored of, and started my own business. Now I make close to 3X what I made as a corporate employee.

I still have classmates who can barely do a job, yet they complain about how expensive rent is becoming etc. while I was able to absorb the social changes through dedication & hard work. The locals seem to take everything for-granted. But no wonder I took a bigger pie, because I didn't waste my time playing video games.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Jeff Kee, you have a good work ethic something lacking among many Americans and other English speaking countries.

I have worked hard for everything I have and never once expected someone to give me a hand out.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Great article!!!!!

I agree with almost everything said. I do have to say that having spent huge amounts of time with Hispanic families here in Texas - that they don't eat less, they just eat better!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Wesman, Mexicans tend to eat a fatty diet that isn't healthy. Tortillas, refried beans and fried potatoes. All tasty but not so good for us. Thanks for reading.


Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

That about describes me and my daughter...


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Sophia, some Americans live frugally, I know I do.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Pamela - that's true and not true. Yes, I'd definitely agree that Hispanics favor high fat diets....they also have the longest life spans, on average, of any group in the USA.

Fat isn't nearly as unhealthy to eat as the mass media tells us that it is. You have to understand that the FDA is controlled by folks with huge amounts of money in the grain industry.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Todd, you are right, eating fat is not always bad. The big difference is that most Mexican people work hard and lead very active lives. Exercise makes all the difference.

I didn't know they lived longer. I'm related by marriage to Mexican people but haven't noticed the longevity part.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Interesting hub that's generated interesting comments. You are right, we have much we could learn from people who have had to hold on to the values of hard work and family, no matter what country they are from.

Many Americans are not doing all that they could to solve their own problems, much less to help those of our country's government and social situation. Most know that there is a huge problem but they can't see what's at the root of it, can't get their fingers around the neck of the issues, yet there's far more to it than even the best of us can really grasp.

For instance, entertainment has become a god, lessons of the past have been pushed aside, and values once held dear because they were understood are today mocked and scorned. The issues we face as a corporate group of people in this country could be solved, but a self-serving, self-confident, self-focused people can't help themselves, much less others.

History warns us...and some Americans are praying for our country while trying to speak up and step up with a higher goal than entertainment, self-aggrandizement, or self-concern.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

RTalloni, Americans tend to get too comfortable when things are good and not prepare for famine. We like to think that things will only improve and always be good but life just doesn't work that way.

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