The census shows the US needs to increase immigration — by a lot

“There are two main ways that the US could increase overall population growth: by encouraging people to have more children or by increasing immigration levels.

On their own, pro-natalist policies have historically failed to increase birthrates in the kinds of numbers that would be required to stave off stagnant population growth. Internationally, research has shown that child allowances have led to slight, short-lived bumps in birthrates. From 2007 to 2010, Spain had a child allowance that led to a temporary 3 percent increase in birthrates, but that was mostly because more people decided to have children earlier, rather than have more of them. After the allowance was revoked, the birthrate decreased 6 percent.”

“Immigration is a much more reliable driver of population growth. The average age of newly arriving immigrants is 31, which is more than seven years younger than the median American, meaning that they could help replace an aging workforce. They are also more entrepreneurial, which encourages economic dynamism, and more likely to work in essential industries, such as health care, transportation, construction, agriculture, and food processing.

Immigrants may also help stave off regional population declines. Immigrants are more likely to settle in areas where foreign-born populations already live, which are typically large metro areas that have lost population in recent years. Frey found in a 2019 report that, of the 91 large metro areas that gained population since the beginning of the decade, 15 would have actually lost population were it not for immigration, including New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia. In another 11 large metro areas, immigration accounted for more than half of their population growth.

Refugees are also more likely to settle in less dense population centers where housing costs are lower, possibly reinvigorating the nearly 35 percent of rural counties in the US that have experienced significant population loss in recent decades.

Raising immigration levels wouldn’t necessarily require a major reimagining of the US immigration system, though that might offer more flexibility to reevaluate immigration levels periodically — it could be accomplished by just increasing the caps on existing forms of visas and green cards.”

U.S. Fertility Rate Drops to Lowest Level Ever

“American women are choosing to have fewer babies and the result is that America’s total fertility rate in 2020 has fallen to a record low of 1.64 births per 1,000 women between 15 and 44 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Demographers define replacement fertility as 2.1 children per woman over the course of her lifetime; one to replace her, another to replace the father, and a tenth extra to account for children who die before reproducing and those who churlishly refuse to make their parents into grandparents. Populations with sustained sub-replacement fertility will eventually begin to shrink.”

“As recently as 60 years ago, the average American woman gave birth to 3.6 kids during her lifetime. Following the introduction of effective birth control pills, the U.S. total fertility rate began to fall steeply from 1960 to a nadir of 1.74 children per woman in 1976. Fertility rose again to hover just below replacement until 2007 when it began its contemporary drop to the lowest rate ever recorded. The U.S. fertility rate is now basically the same as that of other rich developed countries.”

“modernity offers people a multitude of life options that compete with the bearing and rearing of children. Evidently, the trade-offs between work, travel, socializing, entertainment, sports, and parenting that people are making reduce fertility. The upshot is that modern people considering their options are voluntarily choosing to have fewer children.”

The U.S. Baby Bust Continues

“The number of babies American women are having continues to fall”

“The total number of births for the United States in 2019 was 3,745,540, down 1 percent from 3,791,712 in 2018. The report notes that this is the fifth year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, and the lowest number of births since 1986.”

“The U.S. TFR is now similar to that of many other countries, including those that make up the European Union (1.543), Australia (1.74), New Zealand (1.71), Japan (1.42), South Korea (0.977), Brazil (1.73), and China (1.69). This mirrors the decadeslong global trend of women choosing to bear ever fewer children over the course of their lifetimes. Global total fertility stood at more than five children per woman in 1964 and is well on its way toward below replacement levels, having now dropped to 2.415 children per woman as of 2018.”