Population Projections: The Best is Bad, the Worst, Disaster

Published on December 19th, 2012

The Center for Immigration Studies has published a new backgrounder titled Projecting Immigration’s Impact on the Size and Age Structure of the 21st Century American Population. Written by Dr. Steven A. Camarota and using immigration statistics the Census Bureau finds most likely, the 2050 population will soar from 309.3 million in 2010 to 436 million in 2050 — a 126.7 million (41 percent) increase. Because of the phenomenon known as population momentum, even zero immigration would increase by population 31 million by 2050.

Zero immigration is improbable, especially if an amnesty is passed, more illegal alien entitlements are enacted and border and internal enforcement remain lax.

Because immigrants have larger families on average than native-born, CIS also calculates various fertility projections. One assumes birth rates for both native-born and immigrants drop 20 percent over the next 40 years. In that unlikely case, net immigration as calculated by the Census Bureau would still drive the population higher from 2010 to 2050 by nearly 92 million to 401 million. The inescapable conclusion: Immigration plays a larger role in population growth than fertility.

As disturbing as the zero and mid-range Census estimates are, the high end numbers if they were reached would be suicidal. Given the current enthusiasm the White House and Congress demonstrate for more immigration, the high range cannot be dismissed as improbable. For example, at 150 and 200 percent of the Census Bureau’s projected immigration, 2050 U.S. populations would reach 483.8 and 531.6 million.

Debates about immigration and whether it’s good or bad for America are incomplete unless they include population data. Few Americans want to live in an overcrowded environment. But those crippling growth totals is where the United States is headed unless population is included as an important component in the immigration equation. Every journalist and political candidate owes it to Americans to raise awareness about the link between over-immigration and population growth's destructive consequences.

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