National identity has become more inclusive

Americans have become notably more positive about immigration during the Trump years, according to Pew Research. The share of Americans believing that immigrants want to adopt our customs and ways of life in their countries rose of 54% in 2018 to 65% in 2021.

And, between 2016 and 2020 Americans became much more inclusive. When asked what is very or somewhat important about immigrants, Americans became more inclusive (put less emphasis on) with respect to (A) being born in the U.S., (B) being Christian, (C) sharing our customs and traditions, and (D) speaking English.These more inclusive trends exist in the U.K., Germany, and France. One stand-out exception in the U.S. – Americans are much more inclined to say that Christians are being discriminated against (47% vs. 31% or less in the three other countries). In all countries, self-identified Christians are more likely to say that being Christian is essential to truly being part of their country’s citizenry. But they are also more likely to say other key factors – including speaking the language and being born in the country – are essential components of national belonging.

We are becoming bilingual

In twenty years one third of young adults will have had bilingual experience. In some states like California, 6 of 10 young adults will have come from bilingual households. This does not include young persons who grew up in a solely English household and learned another language. Can you think of other facts that so dramatically show how global our demographics have become?

I found this out through analysis of data on languages spoken at home where there is a child 8 or younger.

One-third (11.2 million) of the nearly 23 million preschool-age children (8 or younger) in the United States live with a parent who speaks a language other than English. These households are demographically very diverse. For 31% of the households, the highest educational attainment of either parent is less than high school. But 41% have graduated from college – reflecting the hourglass profile of immigrants.

Nationwide, the five most common non-English languages nationwide are: A Spanish, B Chinese, C Arabic, D Tagalog and E Vietnamese (F: Other).

A fifth of bilingual household young children nationwide live in California, or 60% of all young children who live in that state. Their parents are much better educated than the national average, with only 8% without a high school degree and 50% with a college degree.

States differ dramatically in the most common non-English languages spoken at time. For example, in California, the distribution of languages is heavily tilted toward Spanish. The top five are A Spanish (67%), B Chinese, C Tagalog, D Vietnamese and E Korean (F: Other). As noted, the affected children are half of the young children in the state.

In Minnesota, the distribution is much more balanced: A Spanish (26%), B Somali, C Hmong, D Arabic, E Russian (F: Other). 22% of young children live in dual language households. 32% of these households have less than a high school education, but 42% have graduated from college.

From The Migration Policy Institute. For data on each state, go here.

Another take on the Hispanic presidential vote

The estimable Ronald Brownstein has written a long article in the Atlantic about the Hispanic vote, comparing 2016 and 2020, and speculating about the future. “Generally speaking, the sources showed Hillary Clinton beating Trump among Latinos by nearly 40 percentage points in 2016. In 2020, they showed Joe Biden beating Trump by around 30 percentage points.” The article needs to be read in its entirety. He mentions the “holy trinity” of Latino priorities: jobs, health care, and education. My take can be summarized as follows: culturally, economically, and politically, a lot of Hispanics are natural to fit into a moderate Republican Party.

He writes, “Latinos will be entering the electorate in huge numbers for the foreseeable future: Mark Hugo Lopez, the Pew Research Center’s director of race and ethnicity research, forecasts that about 1 million U.S.-born Latinos will turn 18 each year through 2027. That number will shrink only slightly through the early 2030s, to a little under 950,000 people annually. The nonpartisan States of Change project anticipates that Latinos will grow from about one in seven eligible voters today to nearly one in five by the middle of the next decade.”

The birth rate argument for immigration

Lots of editorials and opinion pieces about how the low birth rate in the United States argues for increasing immigration. Such as:

“According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of births in the United States in 2020 was down 4% from the previous year. This marked the sixth year in a row that births have declined and amounts to the lowest number of births in the country since 1979….The U.S. economy depends on growth of the labor force to generate the tax revenue needed to maintain programs like Social Security. And a key component of labor-force growth is immigration.” (From here.)

About 50% of new immigrants are employed or readily employable. The implicit message is that immigration must shift towards a higher percentage. This is difficult because workers often have families. Also, because temporary work programs, for those with or without a lot of formal education, are hard to manage. Nonetheless, the simple demographic argument for more immigrants is easy to understand.

A piece on birth rate trends since 1960 and how to measure the birth rate is here.

Declining Chinese population

The Financial Times reports that the latest Chinese census, which was completed in December but has yet to be made public, is expected to report the total population of the country at less than 1.4bn, according to people familiar with the research. In 2019, China’s population was reported to have exceeded the 1.4B mark.

Official data showed the number of newborns in China increased in 2016 but then fell for three consecutive years. Officials blamed the decline on a shrinking number of young women and the surging costs of child-rearing.

The real picture could be even worse. In a report published last week, China’s central bank estimated that the total fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman was likely to have in her lifetime, was less than 1.5, compared with the official estimate of 1.8.

That would put China’s fertility rate at that of Italy. The United States rate is 1.8. (Go here for fertility rates by country.) The replacement rate is 2.1. the U.S. continues to grow due to immigration. There is hardly any immigration into China.

China has one million foreign born residents for its total population of 1.4B. The United States has 45 million foreign born residents out of a population of 330 million. (Go here.)

Hispanic house buying

Hispanic buyers have been a consistent source of strength in the housing market in recent years. Their buying power continues to grow as individuals enter their early 30s, the most typical years for first-time home buyers. Hispanics in the U.S. had a median age of 30 in 2019, which was about 14 years younger than the median age for non-Hispanic white Americans.

The Urban Institute projects that between 2020 and 2040, 70% of the net new homeowner households will be Hispanic. Over that same period, it projects white and Black homeownership rates to decline. This reflects the Hispanic population’s household formation growth and youth, said Laurie Goodman, co-director of the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center.

Mary Arenas, a real estate agent in Houston, said about half her clients don’t speak English or prefer to speak with her in Spanish.

The typical home bought by a Hispanic household with a mortgage in 2020 had a value of $265,000. That was below the overall median U.S. existing-home price of $313,000 in February, according to the National Association of Realtors.

White households had a 73.1 percent homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2019, compared to 46.6 percent for Hispanic households and 40.6 percent for Black households.

From the WSJ

For an analysis of inequality in home ownership , go here.


Bipartisan call for immigration reform

The George W. Bush Institute and 20+ Organizations Issue Call For Immigration Reform. Excerpts:

The current migrant increase at the U.S.-Mexico border is creating strains on our country’s immigration and humanitarian services. However, this situation is not new, nor is it political: we have seen similar numbers at the border before, and, without meaningful bipartisan action, we will see them again. The current situation underscores the urgent need to modernize America’s immigration system so it can increase the efficiency of legal immigration, more effectively ensure American security, welcome refugees, and maintain the fabric of the American Dream.

Today’s border situation should inspire us to prevent the next one by finally fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. This cannot wait. While the increase at the southern border will eventually subside, the broader problems with our nation’s immigration system will remain without additional reform. We call upon Congress and the Biden Administration to take further bipartisan action to meaningfully modernize the whole of America’s immigration system to ensure the future prosperity and security of our nation.

Wanting to migrate to the U.S.

Gallup says: There are 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Roughly 450 million adults live in the region. Gallup asked them if they would like to move to another country permanently if they could. A whopping 27% said “yes.” This means roughly 120 million would like to migrate somewhere.

Gallup then asked them where they would like to move. Of those who want to leave their country permanently, 35% — or 42 million — said they want to go to the United States.

Seekers of citizenship or asylum are watching to determine exactly when and how is the best time to make their move.

Trends in public opinion re unauthorized persons

Americans are sharply divided over legalization of unauthorized persons. (From Civiqs). Keep in mind that 60% of unauthorized persons have resided in the U.S. for at least ten years.

Overall, the division has been stable, turning more towards deportation very recently. These figures are for April. It used to be about 57-32. It is now 53-37

Whites are far less willing to grant citizenship that other racial / ethnic groups.

Strong support for citizenship is concentrated in young people.

Hardly any Republicans support citizenship.

Japan actually has some immigrants

Japan’s working age population peaked in 1990 at roughly 85 million. This population will be about 52 million in 2040.

In 2019 there were about 3 million foreign born residents in Japan, about 2.3% of the total population. The number of foreign workers doubled from 700,000 in 2013 to 1.5 million in 2018. According to Noah Smith, “In 2017 Japan implemented fast-track permanent residency for skilled workers. In 2018 it passed a law that will greatly expand the number of blue-collar work visas, and — crucially — provide these workers with a path to permanent residency if they want it. These changes thus represent true immigration, as opposed to temporary guest-worker policies.”
The next two or three decades will reveal whether the country’s culture and institutions will be able to learn from Europe’s experience and manage a smooth transition, or whether immigration will spark a nativist backlash that closes the country off once again.