Study: Over Next 50 Years, Immigration Will Change Face of Nation
Friday, December 11, 2015
According to Pew Research Center projections released in October, by 2065 the United States will have 117 million more people and no ethnic majority. Moreover, about a third of all Americans will be either first- or second-generation Americans.
The projected demographic changes will likely have far-reaching implications over a broad range of areas, altering the country’s birth patterns, boosting education levels among foreign-born residents, as well as changing the face of the electorate.
Most of the population growth over the next 50 years will be driven by immigrants and their descendants – just as it has over the last five decades. This will lead to a more diverse population with no majority segment:
Non-Hispanic whites will remain the largest racial or ethnic group in the overall population but will become less than a majority, the projections show. Currently 62% of the population, they will make up 46% of it in 2065. Hispanics will be 24% of the population (18% now), Asians will be 14% (6% now) and blacks will be 13% (12% now). (Pew Research Center).
The potential impact that second-generation Americans could have on the U.S. political landscape will be huge. With an electorate that is already more diverse than it has ever been, about half of today’s second-generation immigrants are two young to vote. By 2065, the median age for this group will be 36. The increased political power among immigrant groups could lead to a more business-friendly immigration environment over the next several years, if not in time for the 2016 general election.
Such increased electoral clout complements a higher overall education level among foreign-born immigrants. The increased average education will be attributed largely to immigration from Asian countries. Asian immigrants, who will comprise the largest new immigrant group, tend to arrive in the U.S. better-educated than their counterparts from elsewhere in the world.
While about 49 percent of the Americans surveyed would prefer decreased levels of immigration, a majority (56 percent) favor giving priority to highly-skilled (or highly-educated) immigrants. While the projections are skilled estimates, they are in no way set in stone. However, based on such predictions, the future of the United States looks to reflect its past: a nation based on the skills and success of hopeful immigrants.