Feb 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Reducing immigration won’t stop America’s accelerating racial diversity

Reproduced from Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Immigration is projected to drive most population growth in the United States by 2030, and cutting immigration levels will do little to alter the nation's coming racial and ethnic transformation, according to a new Census Bureau study on population projections.

Why it matters: A growing population will be essential to the U.S.'s long-term economic growth.

The big picture: If the rate of immigration to the U.S. was cut in half, population growth would slow, but still depend on immigrants, the study found. Non-white Americans would also still become the majority by 2060.

  • If immigrants were altogether stopped from coming into the U.S. — a dramatic, purely hypothetical scenario — the population would begin to decline in 2035.
  • In that same scenario, non-Hispanic, white peoples' share of the population would still drastically decline, barely maintaining a majority in 2060.

How we got here: Birth rates are falling and death rates are expected to climb as the large Boomer generation ages. Together, the two trends are slowing what is called the "natural increase" of the population.

  • Immigrants will not only keep the population growing by moving to the U.S., but also by having children, which adds to natural increase.

Go deeper: The aging, childless future

Go deeper

The demographic shifts disrupting the political world

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images, Banaras Khan/AFP via Getty Images, and Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images

America's identity is nearing a tipping point as demographics change, which helps explain why so many 2020 presidential candidates are testing the conventional wisdom about who can win elections.

The big picture: The irony is that the biggest changes haven't been reflected in the kinds of candidates leading the 2020 polls — most of whom are white, rich men. But they could have a big impact on the final outcome.

America's future looks a lot like Nevada

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today's Nevada caucus will foreshadow the future of American politics well beyond 2020.

Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of a demographic transformation, and the country's future looks a lot like Nevada's present. Today's results, in addition to shaping the 2020 race, will help tell us where politics is headed in a rapidly changing country.

Experts raise concerns about new census tech in wake of Iowa

The Government Accountability Office, the Census Bureau's inspector general and some lawmakers doubt whether the U.S. census, which begins its every-10-year count next month, is ready for prime time, AP's Mike Schneider writes.

Why it matters: The Census Bureau plans to try out a lot of new technology, but some of it is not fully tested.