’Primary Driver Of U.S. Population Growth’ Could Soon Be Immigration

(UPDATE ADDED BELOW)

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that immigration will become the “primary driver of U.S. population growth” between 2027 and 2038.

“This projected milestone reflects the mix of our nation’s declining fertility rates, the aging of the baby boomer population and continued immigration,” Thomas Mesenbourg, then the Census Bureau’s senior adviser, explained at the time of the projection in 2013.

In that timeframe, the Census Bureau expects that immigration will surpass natural population growth, which is best understood as births minus deaths.

With the projections finding the U.S. set to hit that milestone in the coming years, new reports appear to show that already a significant number counties are experiencing more deaths than births.

Last week the Census Bureau released a report showing regional population changes from July 2013 to July 2014.

The findings indicate, according to an analysis of the data by Business Insider, that about two-thirds of counties experienced a net natural population increase, or births outpaced deaths —meaning about a third of the nation’s 3,142 counties experienced either a net decline or static natural population growth.

Interestingly the top metropolitan area that experienced the most growth last year was a retirement destination — The Villages, FL.

Indeed cities in Florida accounted for six of the U.S.’ top 20 fastest-growing cities. The Census Bureau noted that “migration to Florida from other states and abroad was heavy enough to overcome the fact that in about half the state’s counties, there were more deaths than births over the 2013 to 2014 period.”

Other areas that experienced growth, the Census’ report showed, were regions that have traditionally been immigrant-destination states, including Texas and California.

To be sure, the Census projections are dependent not just on fertility and death rates, but also a controllable factor: immigration policy, a fact not lost on Center for Immigration Studies director of research Steven Camorota.

Camorota explained in an interview with Breitbart News on Monday that to him the issue is not that immigrants are replacing aging Americans, but rather that immigrants are replacing working-age Americans (ages 16-65).

“At least in the last 14 years, what we’re seeing is a massive growth of non-work in the native-born population. In other words the people are here, they’re not over 65, they’re just not working. That has nothing to do with aging,” Camorota said.

Indeed, CIS reported late last year that since 2000, all net employment growth went to immigrants — with the number of non-working natives growing by 17 million.

“Immigration is not something that is going to make us much younger as a population, because the immigrants age,” Camorota explained.

The CIS expert recently issued a new report revealing that immigrant fertility rates have experienced a significant decline in recent years, dropping twice as much for immigrants compared to natives from 2008 to 2013, to just slightly over replacement rates.

“Although immigration has only a small impact on overall fertility and aging, it has a significant impact on population size,” Camorota concluded in his report earlier this month. “For example, new immigrants and births to immigrants between 2000 and 2013 added 26.2 million people to the country — equal to 77 percent of U.S. population growth over this time period.”

A December analysis of population data by The Pew Charitable Trusts concluded that immigration helped to “slow population decline in many counties” from 1990 to 2012 and it “played a large role in population growth in many traditional immigrant-receiving states such as California and New Jersey, and also helped drive growth in new immigrant destinations in the Southeast and Mountain States.”

Pew added that both the native and foreign-born populations increased in that timeframe but concluded immigration was an important part of population stability.

“Most notably, in a large area of the center of the United States, many counties experienced native-born population loss and foreign-born gain,” the report read. “Many of these counties still experienced an overall loss of people, but the population would have declined even more if not for an influx of immigrants.”

While the amalgamation of recent reports offer insight into what the coming population shifts could indicate, the Census Bureau says it will be releasing more detailed demographic data about the regional populations later this year. The agency did not respond to additional requests for comment by the time of publication.

Update:

The Census responded to Breitbart News’ request for comment Thursday. Ben Bolender, the chief of the population estimates branch, explained in a statement that the Bureau believes international migration will soon surpass natural population growth, noting that it has more updated figures.

The 2014 population estimates for states, counties and metro areas are a different data set than the national population projections you reference. These data sets each have different methodologies, which are available on census.gov at the following links: estimates and projections.

The Census Bureau released a new series of population projections in December 2014 that supersedes the series referenced in the article. The new series uses updated data and has slight modifications to our assumptions about births, deaths and net international migration. Because of these changes, the date that we project international migration to surpass natural increase is now 2023.

The 2014 population estimates show that last year the U.S. added 995,944 people due to international migration and about 1.4 million people due to natural increase. You can see estimates of components of population change for all counties here.


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