Population Bulletin Update,
Immigration in America 2010
by Philip Martin and Elizabeth Midgley
This Population Bulletin Update is a follow-up to 2006's
Population Bulletin, "Immigration: Shaping and Reshaping America"
by Phil Martin and Elizabeth Midgley, and provides new data and
analysis on the economic impacts and policy debates around immigration.
Recent immigration patterns and policies show both continuity
and change. Continuity is reflected in the arrival of an average
of 104,000 foreigners a day in the United States. This group includes
3,100 who have received immigrant visas that allow them to settle
and become naturalized citizens after five years, and 99,200 tourists
and business and student visitors (see table). About 2,000 unauthorized
foreigners a day settle in the United States. Over half elude apprehension
on the Mexico-U.S. border; the others enter legally, but violate
the terms of their visitor visas by going to work or not departing.
Two developments have rekindled the immigration reform
debate. The recent recession, the worst since the Great Depression,
exacerbated unemployment and reduced the number of unauthorized
foreigners entering the country. However, most unauthorized foreigners
did not go home even if they lost their jobs, since there were also
few jobs in their home countries. The recession resulted in the
loss of 8 million jobs; civilian employment fell from 146 million
at the end of 2007 to 138 million at the end of 2009. There was
also stepped-up enforcement of immigration laws, especially after
the failure of the U.S. Senate to approve a comprehensive immigration
reform bill in 2007, including the proposal to require employers
to fire employees whose names and social security data do not match.
Experts agree that the stock of unauthorized foreigners fell in
2008-09 for the first time in two decades, but they disagree over
why it fell. Some studies stress the recession, suggesting that
the stock of unauthorized foreigners will increase again with economic
recovery and job growth. Others stress the effects of federal and
state enforcement efforts to keep unauthorized workers out of U.S.
Volume 65, № 2, July 2010
World population highlights: key findings
from prb’s 2010 world population data sheet
by Jason Bremner, Ashley Frost, Carl Haub, Mark Mather, Karin
Ringheim, And Eric Zuehlke
World population has reached a transition point: The
rapid growth of the second half of the 20th century has slowed.
But factors such as continuously improving mortality and slower-than-expected
declines in birth rates guarantee continued growth for decades.
The questions remain: how fast, how much, and where?
The declines in birth rates and increased longevity has led to a
concern in more developed countries and one that will soon spread
to less developed countries: The proportion of the elderly population
has been rising and will continue. The pressure on national pension
plans and long-term health care has increased as the support ratio,
the number of those ages 15 to 64 compared with those ages 65 and
over, decreases.The population size of the world's more developed
countries has essentially peaked.
What little growth remains will mostly come from immigration
from less developed countries. A number of more developed countries
are likely to decline in size and see the proportion of their elderly
populations rise to unprecedented levels. The outlook for less developed
countries is quite different. The increase in world population from
1.6 billion in 1900 to 6.1 billion in 2000 was almost entirely due
to population growth in those countries. The 20th-century population
"explosion" was a direct result of the rapid decline in
mortality rates in less developed countries. Achievements in rising
life expectancy that had taken centuries in Europe took mere decades
in many less developed countries. As less developed countries' growth
rates rose to levels never experienced in the more developed countries,
many adopted policies to lower the birth rate to keep pace with
rapidly declining death rates. In the decades that followed, there
were dramatic declines in birth rates in some less developed countries,
somewhat more gradual declines in others, and almost no decline
in still others. Nonetheless, the total fertility rate (TFR) in
less developed countries declined from about 6.0 in the early 1950s
to about 2.5 today, a much more rapid decrease than that of Europe
and North America. As impressive as that decline may be, there is
still a long way to go. Global population is at an important crossroad.
Will the world continue on to "zero population growth"
Population Bulletin Update,
Latinos in the United States 2010
by Rogelio Saenz
This Population Bulletin Update is a follow-up to 1997's
Population Bulletin, "Generations of Diversity: Latinos in
the United States," and provides new data and analysis on the
U.S. Latino population and its diversity, socioeconomic status,
and issues of identity.
(December 2010) Latinos are increasingly shaping the
demographic makeup of the United States. While the U.S. population
grew by 36 percent between 1980 and 2009, the Latino population
more than tripled, increasing from 14.6 million to nearly 48.4 million.1
Latinos accounted for slightly more than 40 percent of the roughly
81 million people added to the U.S. population over the past 30
years. The influence of the Latino population will only grow in
coming decades, and mostly through natural increase, not immigration.
Volume 61, № 1, February 2011
America's Aging Population
by Linda A. Jacobsen, Mary Kent, Marlene Lee, and Mark Mather
In 2011, the oldest baby boomers—Americans born between
1946 and 1964—will start to turn 65. Today, 40 million people in
the United States are ages 65 and older, but this number is projected
to more than double to 89 million by 2050. Although the "oldest
old"—those ages 85 and older—represent only 15 percent of the
population ages 65 and older today, their numbers are projected
to rise rapidly over the next 40 years. By 2050, the oldest old
will number 19 million, over one-fifth of the total population ages
65 and older.
The United States has a smaller share of older persons
than many developed countries, and its population is graying at
a slower pace. Japan currently leads the world with nearly one-quarter
of its population ages 65 and older, followed closely by Italy and
Germany. By 1980, the proportion of the population ages 65 and older
in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany had already exceeded
the level in the United States today. Between 1980 and 2010, the
proportion ages 65 and older in the United States only increased
by 2 percentage points, compared with a 14 percentage-point increase
in Japan and a 7 percentage-point rise in Italy. However, the pace
of population aging is projected to accelerate in the United States,
Russia, U.K., France, Italy, and Germany in the next 30 years. Japan,
already the "oldest" country in the world, will continue
to age as the number of children and working-age adults shrinks
relative to the population ages 65 and older. Even more striking
is the projected acceleration of aging in many developing countries
such as India, Mexico, Brazil, and China, where recent declines
in fertility signal slower population growth and significant population
aging in the coming decades. Population aging is rapidly becoming
a global phenomenon.Increases in the number of older Americans will
have a profound impact on the age structure of the U.S. population.
Back in 1970, children made up about one-third of the U.S. population,
and only one-tenth were ages 65 and older. Today, the proportion
who are children has dropped to about one-fourth, while the share
who are elderly has risen to 13 percent. However, by 2050 fully
one-fifth of the U.S. population will be ages 65 and older. Most
of this increase will take place by 2030 as the last of the large
baby-boom cohorts reaches age 65.
Rapid changes in age structure can have major social
and economic consequences, especially when they are unanticipated.
The postwar baby boom in the United States has strained local hospital,
public school, and postsecondary education systems, as well as the
labor force as these unexpected large cohorts have moved through
the life cycle. U.S. population aging has been long predicted. However,
it is not only the number and share of elderly that are important
for policy and program decisions, but also their characteristics:
health and disability status, living arrangements, kinship networks,
and economic well-being. This Population Bulletin examines the current
and future U.S. population ages 65 and older and considers the costs
and implications of America's aging population.