U.S. population growth rooted in immigration

DACA delayedWith a projected overall population of 441 million in 2065, immigrants and the children of immigrants are projected to be the primary drivers of growth in the U.S.  over the next 50 years. And while immigrants as drivers of growth has been the case for the last 50 years, a new study out from the Pew Research Center projects an even greater role for the foreign-born and their children in the next half-century.

According to the Pew study, released in late September, immigrants and the children of immigrants currently account for around one-fourth of the nation’s population. This demographic proportion will grow to one-third of the overall population by 2065. In its breakdown of the numbers, Pew projects 78 million of the overall population will be immigrants while 81 million people will be a child to U.S. immigrant parents.

In terms of specifics, Pew reports non-Hispanic whites will remain the largest racial ethnic group in the country though the segment will no longer comprise a majority of the population—dropping from a current 62 percent of the population to 46 percent. Where Hispanics are concerned, a segment that currently comprises 18 percent of the population, the group will grow to 24 percent of the population. The Asian portion of the population, which currently make up 6 percent of the population, will grow to 14 percent. Making up 12 percent of the population now, Pew projects blacks will comprise 13 percent of the overall population.

Immigrant-driven growth, combined with overall patterns, “could have implications in a variety of realms,” according to the Pew report. Among these implications is “changing the face of the electorate, raising education levels among the foreign-born population and altering the nation’s birth patterns.”

One critical point here is that second-generation Americans—comprised of those people who have at least one immigrant parent—are aging up. While around half of this segment is 19-years-old or older, the other half are under the age of 19. Compared to projected numbers for 2065, the median age of those born to an immigrant parent will be 36-years-old.

Currently, Asians account for 26 percent of the immigrant population while Hispanics account for 47 percent of the immigration population. In 2065, Pew projects Asians will comprise 38 percent of the total immigrant population whereas Hispanics will comprise only 31 percent of immigrants.

Particularly significant with the growth of the Asian immigrant population is a projected rise in the overall education level among the foreign-born population. Numbers in the Pew report, for example, put more than half of Asian immigrants—57 percent—as having completed college. Hispanic immigrants with a college education fall sharply below the Asian level as Pew reports only 13 percent of immigrants from Mexico have completed a college education. Those immigrants from Central or South American nations have a college completion rate of 28 percent.

Among other elements projected in the Pew report is a slowing of immigration currently. However, Pew reports that 18 percent of the general population in the United States will be made up of immigrants in 2065.