The immigrant population in the United States will hit its highest percentage ever in the next eight years, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released Wednesday by the Center for Immigration Studies.
CIS’ analysis reveals that by 2023 there will be 51 million immigrants in the U.S. and they will account for more than one in seven U.S. residents, or about 14.8 percent of the population.
The report explains that, without any change in current U.S. immigration policy, legal immigration — as opposed to illegal immigration — will be the force propelling that growing immigrant population.
“These numbers have important implications for workers, schools, infrastructure, congestion, and the environment,” Steven Camarota, CIS’ Director of Research, said Wednesday.
According to CIS, the immigrant population will grow at a rate nearly four times faster than native-born populations. By 2030, the immigrant population will reach 57 million or 15.8 percent and by 2040 it will have grown to 65 million or 17.1 percent.
Come 2060, the immigrant population will have grown to 78 million, with nearly one in five U.S. residents being immigrants. That’s about 18.8 percent of the population. The total U.S. population will also have grown to nearly 417 million.
Compare those numbers to the immigrant population in 1990, when 7.9 percent of the U.S. population (20 million) were immigrants, CIS reports.
According to Camarota, the data also could have implications not just for society and government but also immigrants’ ability to assimilate. Despite the potentially high stakes, conversations and questions about the wisdom of mass immigration to the U.S. have largely gone unspoken, he noted.
“[T]here has been almost no national debate about bringing in so many people legally each year, which is the primary factor driving these numbers,” Camarota said.
This quiet issue is beginning to get more play, however.
The CIS report comes on the heels of comments Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made in support of the idea that immigration policies should protect the American worker.
In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying—the next president and the next congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages, because the more I’ve talked to folks, I’ve talked to Senator Sessions and others out there—but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today—is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages, and we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.
Walker took the position during an interview with Glenn Beck.
Other findings in the CIS analysis include:
*Total net immigration (the difference between the number coming and going) will increase steadily over the next four and one-half decades, totaling 64 million.
*The nation’s total population will grow to 417 million by 2060 — 108 million more than in 2010. This increase is roughly equivalent to adding the combined populations of California, Texas, New York, Florida and Massachusetts to the country.
*The new projections indicate that immigrants who will arrive in the future, absent a change in immigration policy, plus their descendants will account for roughly three-fourths of future U.S. population increase.
*Other interesting findings in the projections show the rapid aging of the immigrant population. In 2015 immigrants accounted for 13 percent of the population 65 and older, roughly equal to their share of overall population. But by 2060 there will be 25.3 million immigrants in this age group accounting for 26 percent of all persons over 65.