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