Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

U.S. demographic future relatively bright

Friday, March 24th, 2017

American Enterprise Institute’s Nicholas Eberstadt compared the demographics of some countries at Oracle OpenWorld 2015 (report by Forbes).

China’s working-age population will contract by about 100 million by 2035. The number of its citizens age 65 or older is growing 4% a year, making China the most rapidly graying population in world history, rivaled today only by Japan, Eberstadt said.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is also its oldest. The average age is 46. Japan’s total population fell by a record amount last year, down 271,058 from the prior year to 126.2 million, and the pace of decline is expected to accelerate until 2060 and beyond. Japan’s working-age population has been declining since the late 1990s and is on track to shrink by more than a third by 2035. There is no immigration to speak of.

He called Russia  a “demography disaster,” especially among men, mostly for health reasons. The life expectancy for males in Russia is about 64 years, putting it among the lowest 50 countries. The two reasons cited widely: high levels of alcohol consumption and smoking. Consider that a 15-year old Russian male has a life expectancy three years shorter than his counterpart in Haiti.

Eberstadt sees United States demographic trends as mostly positive. The US is projected to have modest population and working-age population growth over the next 20 years. And its population will age more slowly than in other OECD countries. The US still has a positive replacement-level fertility rate, augmented by continued immigration, including an influx of highly educated immigrants at a rate above the OECD average, he said.

What is happening to the migration crisis in Europe?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

by Demetrios G. PapademetriouPresident of Migration Policy Institute Europe, a Brussels-based nonprofit, independent research institute that aims to provide a better understanding of migration in Europe and thus promote effective policymaking

Since the early spring of 2016, the number of people migrating across the Mediterranean has stabilised, to about 200,000 people. This is largely due to the closure of the Western Balkan route and the EU- Turkey Statement of March 2016, which sought to end irregular migration from Turkey to the European Union.

….it has led to an increasing determination…to remove both failed asylum applicants and outright economic migrants. The message to would-be migrants and each country’s general public is that illegal migration will no longer be tolerated.

….Europe faces a fundamental governance test that is undermining the legitimacy of both national and European institutions and, more directly, the integrity of management structures of those member states most directly affected by spontaneous migration.

To be sure, the activist and humanitarian ‘industry’ does its best to portray all migration as a humanitarian and protection issue ‒ as it should – and many citizens subscribe to that perspective. But responsible governments know that when crises get out of control, their principal duty is to make policy for and govern on behalf of all their people; to observe legal obligations strictly but narrowly; and to allow values to define only what is purely unacceptable behaviour.

….There are a number of measures that can make…..migration management easier.

First and foremost, offer refugees adequate humanitarian assistance and real opportunities to resume their lives in first-asylum countries. Educate their children so as to prevent the creation of a ‘lost generation’, and support job creation. Both efforts require the cooperation of the host government and the commitment of very large investments.

Second, the manner in which people seek protection in desirable destinations must be redirected. Refugees requiring resettlement (because of special needs and/or as a means to relieve pressures on first asylum countries) must be vetted and selected before they reach a destination country.

[Third], states that receive large spontaneous flows must believe in borders and watch them assiduously. They must institute and execute internal controls responsibly and remove quickly (both voluntarily and not) those without robust legal grounds for protection.

the true challenge for Europe in the decades ahead will be mass migration from Africa. Much larger public and private resources must be invested in creating opportunities for Africans to stay and build lives in their own countries. Otherwise Europe will find itself taking more extreme steps to protect itself, with less success. Leadership, imagination and patience will be the key ingredients.

Will Europe be up to that task?

Drop off in foreign grad student applications

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

A July 2013 report on foreign graduate students reported that International students account for 70% of the full-time graduate students in electrical engineering, 63% in computer science, 60% in industrial engineering, and more than 50% in economics, chemical engineering, materials engineering and mechanical engineering.

Science Magazine reported in February drop offs in grad school applications from abroad.

At Vanderbilt, the overall number of international students applying for engineering master’s programs is down 28% from 2016, and the number seeking engineering Ph.D.s dropped 11%. Dartmouth College saw a 30% plunge in international applications for its venerable master’s program in engineering management (MEM), a professional degree. “That’s never happened before” in the program’s 25-year history, says engineering dean Joseph Helble.

Such declines could have a major impact on a university’s bottom line, although calculating its magnitude is not straightforward. The federal government heavily subsidizes graduate education in the sciences and engineering, so most doctoral students don’t have to worry about tuition bills. But universities generate considerable revenue from professional master’s degree programs, a subset of all master’s training. And in those programs, international students at public universities pay tuition rates that are much higher than for in-state students.

The 200 or so colleges and universities that do the bulk of federally funded research compete for a talent pool that is increasingly international. At Cornell University, for example, the number of applications from international students increased in 2008 – 2013 by 30% annually for the past 5 years, whereas domestic applications dropped by 9% a year. International students in 2013 made up two-thirds of Cornell’s graduate applicants.

Though students on temporary visas make up only 19% of all U.S. graduate students, they compose 55% of those studying engineering and computer science, according to 2015 enrollment data from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) in Washington, D.C.

At Rice University, in 2010, 58 of the 100 full-time graduate students in electrical engineering were foreign nationals. At Purdue University, foreign nationals accounted for 70% (161 of 229) of full-time graduate students in computer science and 55% (59 of 108) in chemical engineering

Community colleges and immigrant education

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Community colleges are the higher ed pathway for many immigrant youth. The latest estimate found (for 2003-2004) shows that one about a quarter of the nation’s 6.5 million degree seeking community college students are immigrants.

Quincy College in Quincy and Plymouth, Massachusetts is an example. The municipally affiliated college serves approximately 5,500 students. The college draws a diversity of students from the greater Boston area as well as 100 countries around the world.. It offers 34 associate degree programs and 19 certificate programs. The college plans to expand into a four-year college. An admissions official told me that enrolling foreign born students was extremely satisfying. Barriers such as unauthorized status were heart wrenching.

Quincy College students ranked #1 as top salary earners in Massachusetts and New England across two-year public colleges for the second year in a row. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, Quincy College students ranked #1 as top salary earners in Massachusetts and New England across two-year public colleges.

From a study of immigrants and higher education:

A study of the 25,173 students in the freshman class at the City University of New York (CUNY) system in 1997 found that 59.9% of the foreign-born students began in an associate’s degree program. Among the foreign-born, a greater proportion of first-time students who attended high school outside the United States began CUNY in an associate’s program (66.5%) than those who attended high school in it (58.5%).

 

The Wonder that is Silicon Valley

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

From the NY Times:

“The U.S. is sucking up all the talent from all across the world,” Mr. Collison said. “Look at all the leading technology companies globally, and look at how overrepresented the United States is. That’s not a normal state of affairs. That’s because we have managed to create this engine where the best and the brightest from around the world are coming to Silicon Valley.”

“Last year, researchers at the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonpartisan think tank, studied the 87 privately held American start-ups that were then valued at $1 billion or more. They discovered something amazing: More than half of them were founded by one or more people from outside the United States. And 71 percent of them employed immigrants in crucial executive roles.”

From the 2016 Silicon Valley Index

“Silicon Valley has an extraordinarily large share of residents who are foreign born (37.4%, compared to California, 27.1%, or the United States, 13.3%). This population share increases to 50% for the employed, core working age population (ages 25-44), and even higher for certain occupational groups. For instance, nearly 74% of all Silicon Valley employed Computer and Mathematical workers ages 25-44 in 2014 were foreign-born. Correspondingly, the region also has an incredibly large share of foreign-language speakers, with 51% of Silicon Valley’s population over age five speaking a language other than exclusively English at home (compared to 43% in San Francisco, 44% in California, and 21% in the United States as a whole). This majority share in 2014  was up from 49% in 2011.”

Survey: What does it take to be American?

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

From Pew surveys in 2016:

It is important to be born in this country? In the U.S., people ages 50 and older (40%) are more likely than those ages 35 to 49 (31%) and 18 to 34 (21%) to say it is very important that a person be born in the country to be considered truly American. The comparable percentages for Canada are 28%, 17%, and 13%; Australia, 19%, 13%, 4%.

Americans overall are roughly similar to Europeans, Canadians and Australians in saying the speaking the national language is very important (U.S.: 70%). Among Americans, 84% of white evangelical Protestants say yes, but only 59% of college grads (and 58% of 18 – 34 year olds) say it is very important. Half of American immigrants are proficient in English.

Where the U.S. sharply differs is whether being a Christian is very important. For Americans, 32% say yes. For Europe, Canada and Australia, about 15% do.

Republicans differ from Democrats in importance of speaking English (83% to 61%), sharing American customs and traditions (60% to 38%), being a Christian (43% to 29%), and being born in the U.S. (35% to 32%).

Muslims in America: why terrorism risk is low compared to Europe

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Richard Alba and Nancy Foner, authors of the 2015 book Strangers No More, offer four reasons why there is so little terrorist risk among Muslims in the United States. First, they note that the foreign-born are Muslim in the United States is tiny compared to Europe. They are 1% of the American population, compared to 11% in France.

Also, unlike in Europe, the Muslim population here is well-educated and middle class, with over 30% completing college, a higher rate than native-born Americans. Their household incomes on average match the general public.

Third, even as deToqueville noted in the early 19th Century, public expression of belief in God and religious practices are much more accepted and common here than in Europe. Muslim immigrants match Christians in America in about 70% saying that religion is very important. And fourth, the right to express one’s faith without encumbrance from government is a fundamental part of the Constitution.

In some respects, immigrant Muslims are more American than Americans. Yet Michael Flynn, the future director of the National Security Council, says that “Islam is a political ideology that hides behind the notion of it being a religion” (23:55)…it is.”like a cancer.”

We know a fair amount about Muslims in America in part thanks to studies by the Pew Research Center.  Since 1992, Muslims as a percentage of new legal immigrants rose of 5% to 10%.   Muslims make up one percent of the general population. Among the 85,000 refugees admitted in 2015, 46% were Muslim.

A fifth of Muslims in Americans say that most Muslims coming to the U.S. want to be distinct from the larger American society. Half of the Americans public thinks that Muslim immigrants mostly want to remain distinct from the larger culture. Half of Americans think the being Christian is an important factor in being American.

Muslim immigrants are more likely (74%) to say that hard work gets you ahead than does the general public 62%). Although they less inclined to show the American flag, they watch sports and recycle about the often as the general public. Foreign-born Muslims in America are highly likely to become citizens when they are eligible to do so. They get involved in solving community problems moderately less than does the general public.

Muslim immigrants practice their religion at a far higher rate (68%) than do Christian immigrants (27%) (page 319 here).

According to a Pew survey, religion remains important past the first generation. About three out of five first and second generation perform the daily prayer (Salah). Thirty percent of Muslim women always wear a head cover or hijab when out in public.

Asked if terrorism is ever justified to defend Islam, 1% of both native and foreign born Muslims said “often;” about 80% said “never.” Among Muslim immigrants, 75% had a very negative view of Al-Quiada while 3% were favorable. Muslims have the same level of concern about extremism in American as does the general public. Muslims with high school or less education are the only segment that perceives “great deal” of support for extremism in the Muslim community.

The world trade in human capital

Friday, January 27th, 2017

An interesting aspect of world migration is how migration can be viewed as world trade in human capital, influenced by public policy. Some of the darkest passage in history involve forced migration (such at the Atlantic slave trade). Let’s look at three countries today.

The Philippines: leading exporter of human capital

The Philippines is a purposeful exporter of human capital. An government agency is tasked to look over and influence where its expatriates go. It looks after their welfare.  It exceeds all other studied countries in its “returns through remittances” (RTR) from emigration, meaning the impact of remittances is high compared to GDP and the emigrants form a relatively low share of the population. Three percent of the population is currently living in other countries, and remittances are equivalent to about 9% of GDP. This high RTR is due in part to the fact that a very high percentage of emigrants who are skilled (this is, at least, some college): 55%.

For closer looks at the Philippines go here and here.

For great many developing countries, at least a third of emigrants are skilled compared to those who stay – usually under 10%of the population. Bulgaria, among 34 developing countries, is the closest to the Philippines in the importance of remittances relative to the size of emigration.

In contrast, 10% of the Mexican population is outside the country but remittances are relatively low, equivalent to 3% of GDP. That’s because only 15% of emigrants are skilled, not much higher than the skilled share of the resident population (11%).

For great many developing countries, at least a third of emigrants are skilled compared to those who stay, which is usually below 10% of the population. Bulgaria, among 34 developing countries, is the closest to the Philippines in the importance of remittances relative to the size of emigration.

Australia: human capital importer

If the Philippines is a model human capital exporter, Australia is a model human capital importer. Among the resident population, 29% is skilled, but 42% of immigrants are skilled. The comparable figures for the United States are 52% and 42% — that is, immigration here lowers the average skill level. For Australia, 24% of the population is foreign born compared to 13% in the U.S.

Ireland: all mixed up

Some of the OECD countries have large gross stocks of both immigrants and emigrants. As a result, if migration had never taken place their population would be roughly the same. Ireland is the clearest example: its share of immigrants is 13%, but the share of emigrants is 16%. In a world without migration, its population would only be 3% higher.

Country by country analysis from “A Global View of Cross-Border Migration,” by Julian di Giovanni, Andrei A. Levchenko, Francesc Ortega. 2015

Summary of the immigration commission created by President Carter

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

In the late 1970s through early 1980s, the United States was hit with arrival of 160,000 Indochinese, 20,000 Russian Jews, and 130,000 Cuban and Haitian “boat people.” Annual permanent visas other than for refugees rose from around 200,000 in the 1960s, to somewhat above 400,000 a year. About 200,000 net unauthorized migrants per year arrived in the 1970s. With the oil crisis and inflation, public concern about immigration spiked.

President Carter convened a Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy in 1979. Its final report was issued in March,1981.

The Commission recommended “Closing the back door to undocumented – illegal immigration, opening the front door a little more to accommodate legal migration in the interests of the country, defining our immigration goals clearly and providing a structure to implement them effectively, and setting forth procedures which will lead to fair and efficient adjudication and administration of U.S. immigration laws.”

Specific recommendations included:

1. Employer sanctions for hiring undocumented workers.
2.Legalization of unauthorized persons.
3.Numerical ceiling of 300,000 (plus those not subject to this ceiling).
4.“Independent immigrants” (i.e. not family reunification). The Commission agreed that “specific labor market criteria” be used. but was divided on how restrictive. No mention of attracting immigrants based on work skills.

In 1980 there were 14.1 million immigrants in the U.S. The demographer for the Commission forecasted that if net migration including illegals kept at at 500,000, the population in 2080 would be 270 million. Our total population today is about 320 million, one quarter of whom are first or second generation immigrants.  As it turned out, the immigrant population rose since 1980 by an average of 800,000 – plus through 2015. The fertility rate of immigrants has been 50% higher than of the total population. Immigrants now number 43 million.

Muslim immigrants: welcome to Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

In some respects, immigrant Muslims are more American than Americans. Yet Michael Flynn, the future director of the National Security Council, says that “Islam is a political ideology that hides behind the notion of it being a religion” (at 23:55)…it is ”like a cancer.” Even though only a fifth of Muslims in Americans say that most Muslims coming to the U.S. want to be distinct from the larger American society, Half of the Americans public thinks that Muslim immigrants mostly want to remain distinct from the larger culture. Half of Americans think the being Christian is an important factor in being American.

Muslim immigrants are more likely (74%) to say that hard work gets you ahead than does the general public (62%). Although less inclined to show the American flag, they watch sports and recycle about the often as the general public. Foreign-born Muslims in America are highly likely to become citizens when they are eligible to do so. They get involved in solving community problems just moderately less than does the general public.

Muslim immigrants practice their religion at a far higher rate (68%) than do Christian immigrants (27%). But they match Christians in America in about 70% saying that religion is very important, for native born Americans are much more involved in religion than are western Europeans. According to a Pew survey, religion remains important past the first generation. About three out of five first and second generation perform the daily prayer (Salah). Thirty percent Muslim women always wear a head cover or hijab when out in public.

They are opposed to terrorism. Asked if terrorism is ever justified to defend Islam,1% of both native and foreign born Muslims said “often;” about 80% said “never.” All Muslims have the same level of concern about extremism in American as does the general public. Muslims with high school or less education are the only segment that perceives “great deal” of support for extremism in the Muslim community. It’s noteworthy that the only widely known coterie here of extremist-thinking Muslims, among young Somalis in Minnesota, focuses on returning to Africa or the Middle East.

Richard Alba and Nancy Foner, authors of the 2015 book Strangers No More, came across four reasons why there is so little terrorist risk in this population. First, they note that the foreign-born are Muslim in the United States is tiny compared to Europe. They are 1% of the American population, compared to 11% in France.

Second, the Muslim population here is well-educated and middle class. Muslim foreign-born also are highly educated, with over 30% completing college, a higher rate than native-born Americans. Their household incomes on average match the general public.

Third, even as deToqueville noted in the early 19th Century, public expression of belief in God and religious practices are much more common here, And fourth, the right to express one’s faith without encumbrance from government is elevated in the Constitution.

(Survey data from Pew study of Muslims in America.)