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High immigration rates for the future do not fix our aging problem


The Center for Immigration Studies using Census data and projections thinks that immigrants and their children will comprise most of American population growth but will have minimal effect on increasing the size of the workforce vs. the aged –i.e. it will have little positive impact on the “aging problem.”

Among the findings:

If net immigration (difference between those coming and going) unfolds as the Census Bureau estimated in the last set of projections, the nation’s population will increase from 309 million in 2010 to 436 million in 2050 — a 127 million (41 percent) increase.

By itself future immigration will account for 96 million (75 percent) of future population growth.

The immigrant (legal and illegal) share of the population will reach one in six U.S. residents by 2030, a new record, and nearly one in five residents by 2050.

Even if immigration is half what the Census Bureau expects, the population will still grow 79 million by 2050, with immigration accounting for 61 percent of population growth.

The underlying level of immigration is so high, even assuming a substantial reduction would still add tens of millions of new residents to the U.S. population and account for most of the population growth.

Consistent with prior research, the projections show immigration only slightly increases the working-age (18 to 65) share of the population. Assuming the Census Bureau’s immigration level, 58 percent of the population will be of working-age in 2050, compared to 57 percent if there is no immigration.

While immigrants tend to arrive relatively young and have higher fertility than natives, immigrants age just like everyone else, and the differences with natives are not large enough to fundamentally increase the share of the population who are potential workers.

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