New immigrants and births to immigrants inside the US between 2000 and 2017 added 33.9 million people to the country—equal to more than three-fourths of America’s population growth over this time period, a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has revealed.
This dramatic growth was despite an overall lowering of fertility rates among immigrants, the CIS report said.
According to the report, immigrant fertility has declined significantly since 2008, and has fallen even more steeply than the fertility of the native-born–“challenging the commonly held assumption that large-scale immigration is the solution to America’s aging demographic pyramid.”
Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research and co-author of the report, said, “It is tempting to believe that immigrants, with their somewhat higher birth rates, can stop America from aging and provide a quick fix to issues like funding Social Security. The reality, however, is that immigrants’ higher fertility has a very modest impact on the nation’s overall fertility rate–and immigrant fertility has declined more steeply in recent years than natives’. Immigration simply will not solve our aging problem.”
The CIS’s reports key findings are:
* The birth rate for women in their reproductive years (ages 15-50) declined more than twice as much for immigrants as for natives between 2008 and 2017.
* The birth rate for immigrant women of reproductive age declined from 76 to 62 births per thousand from 2008 to 2017 — a decline of 14 births per thousand. In contrast, native fertility declined from 55 to 50 births per thousand — a decline of five births per thousand.
* Although still higher than that of natives, immigrant fertility has only a small impact on the nation’s overall birth rate. The presence of immigrants raises the birth rate for all women in their reproductive years by just two births per thousand (3.9 percent).
* Immigration has a minor impact because the difference between immigrant and native fertility is too small to significantly change the nation’s overall birth rate.
* Even if the number of immigrant women 15 to 50 doubled along with births to this population, it would still only raise the overall national birth rate for women in their reproductive years by 2.6 percent.
* In addition to births per thousand, fertility is often measured using the total fertility rate (TFR). The TFR reports the number of children a woman can be expected to have in her lifetime based on current patterns.
* Like the birth rate, the TFR of immigrants has declined more rapidly than the TFR for natives since 2008. In 2008, immigrant women had a TFR of 2.75 children; by 2017 it had fallen to 2.18 — a 0.6-child decline. For natives it declined from 2.07 to 1.76 — a 0.3-child decline.
* Like births per thousand, the presence of immigrants in the country has only a small impact on the nation’s overall TFR. In 2017, immigrants only increased the nation’s overall TFR by 0.08 children (4.4 percent).
* If present trends continue, the TFR of immigrants may drop below 2.1 in the next few years, the level necessary to replace the existing population. An immigrant TFR of less than 2.1 would mean that, in the long run, immigration would add to the aging of American society.
* Another reason that immigration may in the long term add to population aging is that for every major racial/ethnic group sending large numbers of immigrants, fertility is below the replacement level among the native-born generation.
* In 2017, three-fourths of immigrant women in their reproductive years were either Hispanic or Asian. The TFR of native-born Hispanic women was 1.85 children and it was only 1.44 children for native-born Asians — both well below replacement level.
* Although immigration has only a small impact on overall fertility and aging, it has a significant impact on population size. For example, new immigrants and births to immigrants between 2000 and 2017 added 33.9 million people to the country — equal to more than three-fourths of U.S. population growth over this time period.