Constraining Population Growth

The United States is involved in contributing to efforts to slow world population growth. But at home, the administration is actively advocating an immigration policy that would speed U.S. population increase. This disconnect results from the long-term focus on the dangers of rapid population increase internationally while focusing domestically on the short-term benefits from increased immigration that are asserted by immigrant advocacy groups and by employers.

The United States population increased by 130 million people between 1960 and 2010 and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the country has added an additional 10 million people since then as of mid-2014. And it conservatively projects that an additional 95 million will be added by 2060. There is no end to this prospect, but it could be speeded up or slowed down depending on what is done with immigration policy.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, S.744 passed by the Senate in 2013 with the support of the White House would have added an additional 46 million people by 2033 through increased immigration. That so-called ‘comprehensive reform’ legislation is still being pushed by special interests and still has the backing of the White House and key GOP leaders.

On the other hand, a proposal by the most recent national commission studying immigration policy – the Jordan Commission – presented a blueprint in the mid-1990s calling for a reduction in immigration to a base of 550,000 newcomers per year. At the time of that recommendation, the intake of immigrants was averaging over 800,000 per year. Today, new legal immigration is averaging more than one million people per year and there are a similar number of long-term temporary workers coming for periods of up to 5 to 6 years or more.

According to a 2009 Pulse Opinion Research poll, 83 percent of the public expressed concern that the United States was projected to add 135 million people to its population over the next 40 years, with most of that increase due to immigration. But, the politicians appear to be more responsive to the vested interests seeking an increased flow of immigrants rather than the majority public opinion that would prefer reduced immigration. That is opting for short-term gain rather than pursuing a long-range strategy aimed at slowing population growth.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    Even Rainy Sanctuary City Seattle is Running Out of Water Too

    The unusually hot winter this year has decreased the mountain snow pack to almost nothing. Ski resorts are closed and water supplies are very low if this doesn’t change fast. The last thing Seattle needs now is more water users.

  2. avatar

    Leland, you and others here are trying to hide behind pseudo-environmentalism in order to avoid having to compete with an international labor force that is more capable and adaptable than you are.

    I support the President’s programs for practical economic reasons. Immigration provides access to cost-effective labor, as well as a free flow of consumers, both of which are needed to grow the economy. Any resource concerns that come with the growing population can be addressed by self-driving cars, improved infrastructure, sophisticated water production technologies, and more robust public transportation services, all of which will be provided by the dynamic immigrant workforce.

    • avatar

      If you prefer employing the international labor force so much more than American citizens, then please move to the countries such as India or China with the cheap labor force that you think is so much superior to American workers and renounce your American citizenship. Please do not use your wealth and power to destroy our country’s middle class and the future for its citizens. It is greedy, selfish, unprincipled executives such as yourself that our destroying our country’s future. If all our Founding Fathers cared about was how much money they could make we never could have built what we have here. Please get on your private jet and leave the country my ancestors fought to establish and don’t come back!!!!!

      • avatar

        He is just another of these open border libertarians who do not recognize any limits. What he is talking about was achieved with 19th century immigration. Most became self sustaining farmers. If they needed water they sunk a well. He also does not address the biggest difference between then and now. Which is the fact that a lot of the people who come now end up on welfare programs of all sorts, courtesy of the American taxpayer. That did not happen a hundred years and more ago.

    • avatar

      Pragmatic Exec, it’s you that’s hiding behind “psuedo-environmentalism” with your obvious nonsense. Self driving cars” are the answer to our already over crowded freeways? Uh, hello? It doesn’t matter who is driving, the car takes up the same physical space. More people in more cars does not help the problem.

      And we already have “sophisticated water production technologies”. Hello? It’s called reverse osmosis and it’s much more expensive than conventional water sources because we have to take sea water and turn it into fresh water. Also it’s more environmentally damaging because of the end products produced. Hello?

      But you reveal your agenda when you say “Immigration provides access to cost effective labor..” . Yeah, we know. All that matters is that the richest among us make even more money, even though almost all of the economic gains of the last 30 years have already gone to that group. At the same time, the middle and working classes have lost ground. Not coincidentally, that 30 years has been a period of mass immigration unprecedented in our history. Our unemployment rate does not reflect the people who are underemployed, not working enough hours to support themselves. But as long as you have yours, no problem.

    • avatar

      An International Workforce More Capable Than Yankee Know-how?

      Like Microsoft’s VISTA O/S failure built after Gates replaced PNW community college youth with H-1B? Like Boeing’s 787 schedule and design failure A/C built with mostly out-sourcing?

      Even after Detroit laid off 250K automotive design technicals in 2009; many allege how nice of foreign engineered units now assembled in America? Wonderful, we get to work for lower waged and non-union Asian and European Overlords now. Mark my word, as wages recently/quickly deteriorate, high priced automobile purchases will become extinct dinosaurs very soon at a theater near you, moving the remaining foreign engineered/managed automobile assembly plants all back to their Motherlands anyway.

      No country controls their positive economic destiny living off debt without a solid domestic engineered manufacturing base.

  3. avatar

    “From the accumulated evidence we further concluded that the stabilization of our population would contribute significantly to the nation’s ability to solve it’s problems.”

    That is what the Rockefeller Commission on US population growth said in 1972. Our population them was 210 million. Now it’s 320 million. We did not pass 100 million until 1915. There is no doubt that a growing population is a negative for this country. We could cut immigration to zero and we would continue to grow, but the increase would be substantially reduced. And the Rockefeller Commission discussed immigration and assumed it would remain at the low levels of the mid 20th century.

    California is the perfect example of what could be accomplished by a reduction in immigration because it’s a state running out of water. Rents and home prices are being pushed ever higher by population increases, much of it from foreign countries. You get why politicians like Jerry Brown, Diane Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer support more immigration. They’re just political opportunists who sell themselves for a vote. But why would the ordinary citizen of that state vote for policies that would leave their children an overcrowded bankrupt state.