Non whites dominate migration to suburbs

Today, job access in metropolitan areas is far easier – shorter commute distance, for instance – in the suburbs by car rather than by transit in cities. Therefore, any population group which is improving its penetration into the job market is moving to the suburbs.   Moving to the suburbs improves access to jobs.

In 2000, the suburban and ex-urban population was relatively more white (79%) than the urban population (59%). Thus, it is reasonable to expect that additions to the suburban population since 2000 is mainly non-white. As it turned out, virtually all suburban and exurban growth since 2000 was non white.

Between 2000 and 2019, Hispanics made up a majority of the suburban and exurban population growth (50.9%), adding 14.1 million. Asians accounted for 19.6% of suburban and exurban growth, an increase of 5.4 million. African-Americans made up 19.6% of suburban and exurban growth, an increase of 5.4 million. All other groupings (other races and multiple races) were 5.9% of suburban and exurban growth, an increase of 1.6 million. The balance of the growth, 4.0% was White-Non-Hispanics, with the smallest increase, at 1.1 million. (from here and here.)


Do higher incomes discourage or encourage migration?

One major factor in migration over the past 50 years  is that the costs and risks of international migration have declined considerably. (Go here).  A popular idea in foreign aid today is to provide people in poor countries cash assistance, with one goal to reduce the desire to migrate If the U.S. gave Central American households cash on the condition they use it for education and healthly practices, would that reduce interest in migrating?

Cash transfers can include humanitarian payments during emergencies and cash for work programs.

One form of cash transfer is a conditional cash transfer requiring the beneficiary to perform in some way, but without constraints on where that person might eventually decide to live.

Conditional cash transfers in poor counties may be conditional on base to make basic investment in human capital: school attendance by children, and periodic health checks by adults.

This study casts cold water on the notion that providing cash to people in poor countries in need leads them to stay put in better economic condition:

Intuitively, it might seem like when families get a higher income where they live, they should be less likely to migrate away, whether higher income is caused directly via cash, transfer, or indirectly by more education. But the net effect is typically the opposite: those families are more likely to migrate. Two different effects work against the intuitive one.

First, cash, transfers directly alleviate constraints on migration in the short term. Members of many poor household have powerful economic incentives to migrate, but lack the means to offset the high cost and risk they incur by migrating. Second, transfers that are conditional on investment can raise the education level of young people in the household, raising migration in the long term. Families who have children with higher schooling attainment often have higher expectations for the children’s earnings relative to their ability to find good local jobs.  In other words, in the short run cash transfers enable people to pay for migration, and in the long run increase aspirations for migration.

Cash transfer programs conditional on investment have raised beneficiaries rates of international migration in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Comoros.

Out migration from Venezuela

The out-migration of people from Venezuela in the past five years has been one of the largest migration crises in the region, with millions leaving the country and at least 6.1 million people (estimates vary) outside the country by the end of 2021, about one fifth of the entire population.

At least one million have been or are being formally recognized as refugees (i.e. documented evidence of fear of persecution).  This makes them the largest formally identified refugee group in the Americans after the some 1.6 persons in the U.S. who are refugee applicants and by nature of residing in the U.S. are called asylum applicants. (In addition there are admitted refugees now living in the U.S., the size of which I cannot estimate.)

1.7 million or 31% are living in Columbia; 400,000 in Ecuador; 940,000 in Peru; and a half million both Chile and the United States, and 300,000 in Spain – in all, three quarters of these emigrants. These figures are a few years old.(Go here.)

The out-migration of Venezuelans has also created challenges for the countries receiving them, including increased demand for healthcare, education, and social services, as well as concerns about security and the potential for social tensions.

In 2022 the Biden Administration announced plans to spend $170 million to financially support this large out-migration, and another $130 million to support those who have left Venezuela, Haiti and Nicaragua.

Latinos a “demographic lifeline to rural America”

The Hispanic population increased from 1.6 million in 1992 to 4.1 million in 2019, an increase of 160%, in nonmetro America. The rapid growth of the nonmetro Latino population was 56% in the 1990s, 40% in the 2000, and 19% in the 2010s. The total non-metropolitan population   growth was far less:  5.4%, 5.5%, and 0.7% respectively. Between 1990 and 2019, 58% of net non-metropolitan area population growth was Hispanic; 3% Black; 7% white; and 32% non-Hispanic other (Asians, Native, multi-racial).

New, i.e. non-traditional, destinations of Hispanics include northeast Texas, the Carolinas, southeastern Pennsylvania, the Las Vegas area, and northwest Georgia.  When you look at these “new destinations,” the increases much more.  For new destinations, Hispanics were 3% of the population in 1990 and 16% in 2019. (In established destinations, such as southern and western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, the share of total population increased relatively modestly from 32% to 44%.

Within 200 non-metro counties, the total population would have declined except for Hispanic in-migration.

This population shift has led to some non-historical Hispanic states, such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Nevada, gaining a significant share of eligible voters being Hispanic. (go here,)

From here.


Half of “missing” immigrants are college educated

A study published in early 2022 on the shortfall of immigrants due to Trump policiies and the pandemic (i.e. 2019, 2020 and 2021) concludes that the shortfall was about two million persons and that almost 50% of those who would have migrated would likely to have been college educated. The researchers thus are saying that with normal levels of immigration, about half are college educated.  This is comparable to total Americans today who are 24 – 29 years old, 42% of whom have a college degree.

There are roughly 17 million persons in the workforce 40 or younger who are college educated. The missing one million new immigrants, the great majority of whom would be 40 or younger, are equivalent to about 5% of this youngish college educated workforce.  This is the result of immigration distruption for 3 years.

“This decline in immigrant and nonimmigrant visa arrivals resulted in zero growth in working-age foreign-born people in the United States. Prior to 2019, the foreign born population of working age (18 to 65) grew by about 660,000 people per year, as reported in data from the monthly Current Population Survey. This trend came to a stop already in 2019 before the pandemic, due to a combination of stricter immigration enforcement and a drop in the inflow of Mexican immigrants. The halt to international travel in 2020 added a significant drop in the working-age immigrant population.

“As of the end of 2021, the number of working-age foreign-born people in the United States is still somewhat smaller than it was in early 2019. and, relative to the level it would have achieved if the 2010-2019 trend had continued, there is a shortfall of about 2 million people. A similar calculation done using monthly data on foreign-born individuals with a college degree indicates that of the missing two million foreign workers, about 950,000 would have been college educated, had the pre-2020 trend continued. This is a very substantial loss of skilled workers, equal to 1.8 percent of all college-educated individuals working in the US in 2019.”


The Migration Policy Institute’s information resources

The Migration Policy Institute has released updates to its useful information resources on immigration in the United States.

Frequently requested statistics on immigrants and immigration in the U.S. updated to March 14 2023

(You can also go to Pew Research’s key statistics, dated 2020.)

State immigration profiles.

In its announcement of these updated data sources, the MPI included four specific items of information:

Immigrants were 13.6% of the total U.S. population in 2021, the most recent available year. In 2000 the share was 11.1%. The share has been flat for several years due to Trump policies and the pandemic. However, the immigrant population is expected by the Census Bureau to grow at a faster rate than the U.S. born population.

Mexican immigrants in the United States declined by more than 1 million between 2010 and 2021.  In 2013 number of new Asian-born persons who immigrated to the U.S exceeded the number of Latin American-born persons who immigrated.

Immigrants’ median household incomes in 2021 ($69,622) were almost identical to those of the native born ($69,734). This figure is somewhat misleading because immigrants form an hour class profile in economic status: relative to the U.S. born population a high share with little formal education and a high share of those with advanced formal education.

About 26% of the 69.7 million children under age 18 in the United States lived with a least one immigrant parent as of 2021, up from 19% in 2000 and 13% in 1990. I have posted that immigrants have become a birthing factory because they are likely to arrive in the U.S. during prime child bearing years in their lives.

The UK is running out of workers

One million people are estimated to have left the United Kingdom due to Brexit. Here is a quick snapshot of some workforce problems. Comment is Freed analyzes the personnel shortage in the public sector:

Childcare: I don’t see how the government’s proposed expansion of childcare will be possible at current average wage levels to compete with retail [employment]. The only alternative would be to open up our immigration system for lower-paid jobs and I don’t imagine either the Tories or Labour will be keen to do that. Likewise re-joining the [EU].

Nurses, meanwhile, are dealing with much higher demand, with full hospitals, and particularly intense pressure on A+E and intensive care. Exhaustion and burn-out from the pandemic are rife. Those who worked in intensive care during covid suffered post-traumatic stress disorder at similar levels to soldiers returning from Afghanistan.

Medical doctors: [UK] medical school places are artificially constrained by the Treasury due to their high cost. Demand has risen much higher than the increase in these places – the NHS has 17% more junior doctors since 2019 and 10% more consultants. The only way to square the circle has been a massive increase in non-UK doctors. Almost 11,000 doctors from outside the EU joined the workforce in 2021, up from 5,000 in 2017. This compares to around 8,000 UK trained doctors. This spike in recruitment also meant 50% of nurses who joined the NHS last year were non-EU.

Who wants to migrate?

Gallup World Poll says that 16% of the world’s population wants to migrate internationally and permanently. In these countries, at least half of those polled say they want to: Sierra Leone (73%), Lebanon (63%), Honduras 56%), Gabon (55%), Afghanistan (53%), Republic of the Congo (53%), Ghana (53%), Nigeria (53%), and Albania (50%) and Dominican Republic (50%).

On a regional rather than individual country basis, Gallup’s 2018 poll reported that 33% of Sub-Sahara Africans want to migrate and 27% of Latin Americans and Caribbeans.

The United States (by a lot) followed by Canada, Germany and Spain are the most desired destinations.

Nigeria stands out among the countries with a high level of desire to out-migrate. It is the only one of these countries where a significant absolute number of well formally educated persons will predictably out-migrate. Nigeria will remain for some time Sub-Sahara Africa’s main exporter of human talent. I have posted several times on the exceptionally high educational attainment of Nigerians in the United States, including here.

The African Polling Institute in 2020 found that Canada was the most desired destination. About 150,000 Nigerians live in Canada (vs. 400,000 in the U.S., with a almost 10 times Canada’s population).

The reasons Nigerians give for migrating to Canada are better career opportunities (75%), heightened insecurity and violence (60%), the desire to provide a better future for their children (55%), for further education (40%), and perceived poor governance in Nigeria (35%).  The education and skill levels of Nigerians who move to Canada are high, reflected in their entry method: the Federal Skilled Workers Program known as Express Entry (56%) and Studentship / Postgraduate Work Permit (25%).






Is population decline a bad thing?

Most advanced countries are experiencing between flat and declining populations. The steady state fertility rate (births per woman) is 2.1. South Korea: 0.85. U.S: 1.7. The only way to keep population steady or growing is longer life expectancy and immigration. Canada one of extremely few countries with a functional immigration system which imports people (about 1% of total population a year, compared to about 0.3% in the U.S.).

Population decline creates problems: (1) faster shift towards old, post-workforce population, i.e. more old people per worker; (2) constraints on workforce supply. But constraints need to be examined by sector (personal services, technology, scientific, retail, etc.). And they are open to solutions, which may be more available with the penetration of artificial intelligence, with its capabilities in robots as well as human-like cognition. Social and political forces do, of course, constrain the flexibility of our immigration policies. There is no evidence that declining population adversely affects productivity improvements, but maybe I’m missing something.

Other problems from population decline include the risk of deflation. Deflation increases debt burden, discourages investment, and makes it more difficult for a central bank to manage the economy.

Another is that politics and enterprises have less new blood flowing into them, raising  the risk of organizational sclerosis.

Population increase can be by increasing fertility rate (very few successful examples, such as Hungary) and immigration. Immigration is a fruitful form of population stability and increase for two reasons: (1) immigration (especially at middle class level creates) a more cosmopolitan, liberal democratic society, which most of us want for social, cultural and economic reasons. (2) immigration tends to concentrate at child-bearing age (20-40) hence a fertility boost. (Immigrants are 14% of US population but 20% of births).

New strategies for immigration can lessen workforce constraints due to aging. Example: A consortium of hospital systems makes a 20-year deal with nursing schools in Nigeria to provide a steady stream of nurses. California Ag companies make deal with a Mexican state for farm labor. These will not happen until immigration control is shared with private organizations. These are basically rough copies of how the AMA influences the immigration of medical doctors.

CBO population projections to 2053 and the role of immigration

From the most recent Congressional Budget Office forecast to 2053: Average net immigration per year will 0.31%. Average growth of 25-54 population will be 0.2% In the past 40 years, that prime working age cohort grew by 0.9% per year. Hence, Immigration growth is expected to be 0.31/0.2 = 50% faster than the total prime working age population.

Persons 65 and older to increase by 1.2% per year, much faster than the prime working populatio. The fertility rate will be at 1.75 per woman.

Total population will increase by 0.4%, lifted by immigration and longer life expectancy.

The contribution of immigration above is understated because it does not take into account that new immigrants are more concentrated in child-bearing ages. One needs to look at the burgeoning second generation population.  Recent immigrants comprise a birthing factory. Immigrants account for 20% of all births, even though at present the entire immigration population is just 14% of total population.  By the mid Century the second generation will start to have their own children.

Go here for the CBO forecast.