Immigration Pushes Population Growth Faster

Admission of more than one million immigrants per year adds significantly to the rapid population growth of the United States. Because some immigrants leave voluntarily or are deported the net population increase each year from immigrants is a bit less than one million according to the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB). The USCB’s annually estimates the amount of population change from births, deaths, net domestic migration (interstate), and net international migration. The latter category is mostly the arrival and departure of foreigners.

Since mass immigration was unleashed by legislation in 1965, the share of the U.S. population increase due to immigration has grown rapidly. For example, the USCB data show net immigration accounting for 32 percent of the increase for the 1990-1999 period. For the most recent period (2010-2014), the share grew to 40.2 percent.

Those percentages, however, understate the impact of immigration on population increase. That is because the other factor in population increase – natural change, or births less deaths – does not distinguish between the births to immigrants and those to the U.S. born population. Births to the foreign-born population are higher than those to the native-born population partly because of the fact a larger share of the foreign-born population is in the child-bearing years and partly because of larger family size.

An estimate of the full impact of immigration – the immigrants themselves and their U.S.-born children — on U.S. population increase is much higher than the USCB percentages show, and it also is rising. For the 1990-1999 period, the immigrant-related share of population increase was 57.7 percent. The estimate based on the most recent period (2010-2014) is that immigration accounts for 76.9 percent of U.S. population increase. 

Another measure of the impact of immigration on the country is the share of the population that is foreign born. In 1960, that share was 5.4 percent. By 2000, the share had more than doubled to 11.1 percent, and as of 2014 the USCB estimates the share at 13.1 percent. The USCB issued an estimate in 2014 that if current trends continue the foreign-born share of the population will reach 18.7 percent by 2060. Of course, the current trend could be changed, because immigration admission limits could be changed.

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

    Since 2002, the United States has created about 9 million jobs but has imported about 18 million immigrants, both legal and illegal. The US needs a growth rate in the economy of at least 2% just to provide jobs for Americans who are graduating from college or high school. Overpopulation is not a good thing, just view photos of life on the street in India or China with streets full of people packed wall to wall and the poverty.

  2. avatar

    As predicted, the TPP “free trade” deal was passed by the Senate just as soon as this president got his fast track authority a couple days ago. So the American people, you know, supposedly the ones our so called leaders represent, never got a chance to examine and debate it because this administration would not let it be released for public review. This will let foreign corporations sue for damages if our laws and regulations prevent them from making a profit. US corporations will be able to bring in foreign workers by the thousands to undercut American wages. Hopefully the House may block it.

    Most of the Senate votes came from the good old God Bless America Republican party, selling us out to global corporate interests. And our ego maniac president, who said he took criticism of this pact “personally”, is the same guy who pushed a similar treaty with South Korea and said it would reduce our deficits with them. Instead those deficits exploded. The excuse that always comes up when one of these new treaties is proposed is that this one will be “different”, but they all end the same, with extensive American job losses. Your government, bought and paid for by corporate interests, foreign and domestic.

    • avatar

      To be clear, it is fast track authority that has been approved, not the whole pact as of yet. Even liberal supporters of this administration like Paul Krugman have called their secrecy on this issue “disappointing and disheartening”.

      • avatar

        What a country that determines its’ population by the yardstick of cheap labor and liberal voters. it can’t end well if it isn’t stopped.