The Pew Hispanic Center has just released a new report that indicates that the U.S. population would fall in the future if current levels of legal and illegal immigration were not continued.
The projection is that between now and 2065 immigration will account for 88 percent of the country’s population growth. But the study is not focused on the total population, but rather the working-age population. It depicts a drop from 173 million persons aged 25-64 to 166 million if there were no further immigration. Of course, no one is advocating zero immigration. With the continued present level of immigration, the working-age population would increase to 183 million.
The reason for the drop in the working age population without immigration is that the spike in population growth of the postwar ‘baby boom’ increase is passing as that generation ages and dies. This, of course, is a natural phenomenon that has been long anticipated. The passing of the ‘baby boom’ is destined to restore population dynamics to a more stable long-term balance.
So, what is the purpose of this report? Pew supports liberal immigration. The report is ammunition for the business interests that oppose the agenda of the Trump administration to tighten enforcement against illegal immigration and to reduce legal immigration and refugee flows. Economists and business interests generally support population growth fueled by immigration because of the view that the availability of more workers holds down wages and the availability of more consumers props up consumption of manufactured products.
That is a ‘glass half full’ perspective. The contrary perspective is a nation with decreased crowding, less demand for new infrastructure, less intrusion on the nation’s environment and non-renewable resources. Currently efforts to make the country more energy independent and less reliant on fossil fuels are eroded by the growing population of energy consumers. That Sisyphean challenge will be much more realistic when the population tends to stabilize with a lower level of immigration.