Demographic winter in the Midwest: too few immigrants

The decline in the numbers of native working age people is especially acute in the Northeast and the upper Midwest. “U.S. Economic Competitiveness at Risk” says a Midwest coalition, organized by the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs.  The Chicago Council reported (“Growing Heartland”) in June 2014 that between 2000 and 2010, the Midwest lost 1.4 million native born people between ages 35 to 44, a 20% loss for the age group, while gaining 265,000 foreign born persons in that age group, a 44% increase.

Thus, while nationwide the primary driver of population increase in the U.S. will turn to net international migration in 2032, per the Census Bureau, the impact is acute today in these regions as far as the workforce is concerned.

These Midwest reports are saying, in effect, that there is not enough net in-migration of immigrant workers.

Recent impact of immigrant in-migration on labor force was estimated by the Conference Board. Major states with very large positive immigrant in-migration 2004-2013 are New York (- 3.6% decline in total working age population), New Jersey (0.1%), Florida (17%), California (8%) and Texas (20%).

But the opposite is the case for Midwest states where the labor force decline was weakly countered by immigrant in-migration since 2004: Michigan (total decline of -1%), Pennsylvania (-6%), Ohio (-6%), Illinois (-3%).

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