Immigrants Fuel U.S. Global Economic Engine

In the midst of a fundamental shift of demographics, second- and third-generation immigrants are quickly becoming the backbone of U.S. labor.  This change in the workforce by Asian and Pacific Islander and Hispanic immigrants is laid out by progressive think tank organization Center for American Progress.

Retiring Baby Boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964— currently make up around 40 percent of the U.S. workforce. By 2030, however, workers from the Baby Boom generation will make up only a small fraction of the labor force, which is projected to mushroom by some 83 million new workers in the coming years. The new work force, one-third of which will be comprised of immigrants and their children, will see 59 million workers who are replacing the current Baby Boom workforce and another 24 million will sprout from economic growth.

Besides the en masse retirement of Baby Boomers over the coming years, birth rates among native U.S. citizens is much lower than in times past. While the scenario could potentially lead to a drop in government revenues and put benefits in danger, the growth of the immigrant worker population provides an optimistic growth outlook for the future. The reliance on immigrants as drivers of the country’s economic engine also means a changing American complexion as 54 percent of citizens in the U.S. will be non-white by 2050, according to a video released by the Center for American Progress.

“The dynamism of each new generation of immigrants has made America stronger and more prosperous,” the video narrator said. The statement is followed up by immigrant facts that demonstrate that within 30 years of coming to the U.S., three-fifths of immigrant families have integrated into U.S. culture, achieved incomes above the poverty line and have purchased homes. What’s more, representing only 13 percent of the nation’s population, immigrants start 25 percent of all new businesses in the country.

“Our economy depends on immigrants’ entrepreneurial spirit,” the video narrator says. The video’s message, then, is simple enough as the U.S. immigration system must embrace diversity and invest in the skills of all people.