Jul 31, 2019

The shrinking working-age population

Note: Economic Innovation Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

About 80% of U.S. counties lost prime working-age adults between 2007 and 2017, and 65% will lose more over the next decade.

Why it matters: While population decline is affecting parts of every state, the loss of the working-age population is being felt most acutely in places that are already struggling economically, according to an analysis by the Economic Innovation Group and Moody's Analytics.

  • The shrinking worker population makes it tough for hard-hit regions to bounce back. Companies are less likely to invest in places that don't have solid pools of workers. Likewise, it's hard to lure more young, educated workers to a place without many employers.
  • EIG has pitched the idea of place-based visas, or "heartland visas," allowing communities with chronic depopulation to opt-in to hosting visa-holding immigrants to address labor shortages.

What's happening: Some cities in the Midwest with dwindling labor forces are open to having immigrants fill empty jobs, as they are more likely to be of working age — between 25 and 64 — than the native-born population.

Driving the news: The U.S. Conference of Mayors this month adopted a resolution supporting heartland visas, noting "mayors around the country are in fact already making welcoming immigrants and refugees centerpieces of their economic development strategies."

The bottom line: Immigration may be the difference between population loss and growth. And as seen in several metros, such as Detroit, Memphis, Dayton and St. Louis, foreign-born migration helped reverse population decline, according to a recent study by New American Economy.

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Immigrant-owned businesses contribute billions to U.S. economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Immigrants in the U.S. are twice as likely to start businesses as their native counterparts for a myriad of reasons, generating at least $1 trillion in annual sales revenue, per the New American Economy (NAE).

Driving the news: President Trump recently issued an immigration rule that targets legal immigrants "who are likely to use public benefit programs" — positioning them as a burden on taxpayers. However, studies show that immigrant-owned small businesses in the U.S. generate billions of dollars in tax revenue each year.

Go deeperArrowAug 17, 2019

Trump administration to penalize immigrants likely to use public benefits

A woman and her daugher fill out an application for food stamps. Photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A rule that would penalize immigrants who use or are likely to use public benefit programs such as food stamps, housing assistance or Medicaid will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The long-anticipated rule will make it much harder for immigrants with low incomes or low levels of education to obtain visas or green cards. It will also be much harder for immigrants already in the U.S. to stay longer, change their immigration status or become citizens if they have used any of the specified safety net programs.

Go deeperArrowAug 12, 2019

The new threat to capitalism

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

In what would have been widely dismissed as absurd even a year ago, a mainstream consensus has suddenly swept the world that the core of the global economic system has gone terribly awry, requiring a basic shakeup of capitalism.

The big picture: But the problem may be far more fundamental than an excess of human ruthlessness, as many believe. Instead, experts say, capitalism is under another, more intractable assault — by inexorable long-term population trends that may kill the ability of economies to grow.

Go deeperArrowAug 20, 2019