Natalism

05.16.13

The Population Side of Immigration Reform

The Census Bureau is projecting that international migration will soon be the primary driver of U.S. population growth, which hasn't been the case since 1850.

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I'll confess that my arguments against this immigration reform bill run into a wall when dealing with America's natalism problem. Absent a (very unlikely) change in our homegrown demographics, America is set to become a dramatically older society, an outcome we ought to avoid if possible. Immigration can help alleviate the costs of this change, and done properly - say, dramatically favoring high skilled workers - we ought to include immigration as a tool to keep America dynamic and growing. Those are positive things.

Here's part of the Census Bureau report:

The shift in what drives U.S. population growth is projected to occur between 2027 and 2038, depending on the future level of international migration.

"Our nation has had higher immigration rates in the past, particularly during the great waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries," said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's senior adviser. "This projected milestone reflects the mix of our nation's declining fertility rates, the aging of the baby boomer population and continued immigration."

The three new projections cover the period from 2012 to 2060. These alternative series complete the official set of 2012 National Population Projections, which began with the middle series projections released in December 2012. All four series maintain the same methodology and fertility and mortality assumptions, and differ only in the levels of net international migration they assume. They are broken out by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.

"Projections of international migration are challenging to produce, because it is difficult to anticipate future social, political, and economic conditions and how they may influence migration into or out of the United States," notes Census Bureau demographer Jennifer Ortman. "Developing this range of alternative projections shows how differing levels of net international migration alter the pace at which the U.S. population grows, ages, and diversifies

Read it, consider it, deal with it.