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Research: Immigration Essential to Growth, Vitality

December 05, 2023 (1 min read)

William H. Frey, Nov. 29, 2023

"Immigration has become one of the nation’s most contentious political issues. Yet there has been less public attention paid to broader immigration policy than to sensational characterizations of open borders, illegal immigrants, and negative stereotypes about immigrants’ country of origin, race, or ethnicity. Beyond these political rants, there is little discussion about what immigration means for the changing demography of the nation relevant to its future growth, especially amid a continued trajectory of lower fertility and—because of the aging population—more deaths. ... As the discussion below reveals, in a future of decreasing births and increasing deaths across an already aging population, immigration levels are crucial in leading to national growth as opposed to decline, and countering what would otherwise be extreme aging. Yet counter to widespread claims, immigration is not primarily responsible for making the nation more racially and ethnically diverse, as the U.S. population will become less white even under scenarios of low or zero future immigration."