the slowest demographic growth ever


“This period of immigration-bashing will probably prove to be an ironic footnote to a transition in which immigrants will once again revitalize American society.” – William Frey, demographer at Brookings.

He writes: The 2020s are beginning on the heels of a decade of demographic stagnation. Annual U.S. population growth through mid-2019 — the last period with all the numbers now in place — was a mere 0.48 percent, which is the lowest rate since 1918. This caps off a decade that should show the slowest 10-year growth (7.1%) since the first census was taken in 1790.

The 1930-1940 decade was the only other one at about this slow level of growth. The average growth over a decade in the 20th C was about 12%.

“The overall slowdown in population growth is bound to have a telling socioeconomic impact. It’s virtually certain that two factors contributing to the slow growth in the 2010s — slipping fertility and an increase in deaths — will continue, as both are associated with an aging population.

Note, moreover, that as the still-large baby boomer population ages into retirement, their dependence on young workers will increase. And the greatest source of growth in the young population will be immigrants and the children of immigrants. Indeed, the Census Bureau projects that after 2030, immigration will account for more than half of the nation’s population growth.

Like it or not (and happily, a majority do seem to like it), immigrants will become an increasingly important source of enterprise and innovation in the American economy — not to mention a vital source of semi-skilled labor to care for a rapidly aging population.”

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