The Center for Immigration Studies put out a report recently that thwarts the lie that we need to increase immigration to increase the proportion of the working age population due to an aging population and declining birth rates. The report is a great read, but here are the conclusions:
This analysis first recreates the newest Census Bureau projections and then varies the immigration level, which the Census Bureau does not do in its projections. The Center for Immigration Studies, as well as other researchers, have reported that immigration levels fell significantly after 2007. To that end, the most recent Census Bureau projections on which this analysis is based assume a lower level of net immigration than did the projections from 2012 and 2014. However, it is also the case that the most recent data indicates that immigration has surged recently.14 While there is no way to know with any certainty what the future level of immigration will be, this analysis provides many different immigration scenarios to discern its impact.
We find that varying the immigration component has a very large impact on the future size of the U.S. population. The Census Bureau projects net immigration of 46.4 million between 2017 and 2060, creating total a population of 404 million in that year — 96 million larger than in the last Census in 2010 and 79 million larger than in 2017. The addition is roughly equal to the combined populations of France and Belgium. Almost all (75 million) of the post-2017 increase is due to future immigration. That is, immigrants who have not yet arrived, but who will do so absent a change in policy, plus their descendants.
Although immigration makes for a much larger population, immigration does not have a large impact on increasing the share of the population that is of working age. Assuming the Bureau’s immigration level, 59 percent of the population will be working-age adults (16 to 64) in 2060, compared to 57.6 percent if immigration was reduced by two-thirds to the level that would roughly stabilize the population. Even if there was no net immigration, the working-age share would still be 56.7 percent in 2060. In contrast, raising the retirement age would seem to be a much more effective way of increasing the share of the population who are potential workers. We find that raising the retirement age by two or three years would increase the working-age share of the population more than the level of immigration projected by the Census Bureau through 2060. It would also have a similar impact on the ratio of workers to retirees. While immigrants do tend to arrive relatively young, and have somewhat higher fertility than natives, they age just like everyone else, and some actually arrive at or near retirement. Further, the children of immigrants also add to the dependent population, at least until they reach adulthood. For all of these reasons, immigration does not have the large impact that some imagine on increasing the share of the population who are workers. It would require a truly dramatic increase in immigration levels, many times that projected by the Census Bureau, to maintain the current working-age share of the population.
The debate over immigration should not be whether it makes for a much larger population — it does. The debate over immigration should also not be whether it has a large impact on increasing the working-age share of the population or the ratio of workers to retirees — it does not. The key question for the public and policy-makers is what costs and benefits come with having a much larger population and a more densely settled country. Some foresee a deteriorating quality of life with a larger population, including its impact on such things as pollution, congestion, loss of open spaces, and sprawl. Others may feel that a much larger population will create more opportunities for businesses, workers, and consumers. These projections do not resolve those questions. What the projections do tell us is where we are headed as a country in terms of the size and density of our population. The question for the nation is: Do we wish to go there?
This report goes a long way to show that keeping immigration rates at their current levels will not significantly increase the percentage of the working age population. What goes unwritten are all of the other devastating effects of both legal and illegal immigration, which have been written about enough on here so check out the immigration tag or category if you would like to go for a deep dive.
What also goes unsaid is that if we continue down this road of increased immigration, and continue to fundamentally change the demographic makeup of the country, it will no longer be anything remotely close to the country you or I grew up in. It has already changed dramatically. That is if we can even keep up with our current levels of technology and innovation. Given the declining IQ of the country it would seem awfully optimistic to think we can maintain the same levels of innovation or even things as “simple” as maintaining infrastructure. Halt all immigration except for the very best and brightest. If we are to allow anyone into the country it should be those who can contribute the most. We simply cannot afford to add more people to the welfare system that is bogging us down. Otherwise close the border completely for the foreseeable future.