The U.S. economy must prepare for a low-immigration future

U.S. Border Patrol (Eric Gay/AP)

President Trump and his allies in Congress are pushing to limit both legal and illegal immigration to the U.S., but more important than politics are powerful demographic and economic factors that will shrink future low-skill immigration to the U.S. in coming years, according to new research from economists at the University of California.

Bottom line: Between 2007 and 2014, the population of undocumented immigrants fell by 160,000 persons annually, and the authors argue that this is only partly the result of the Great Recession. Other factors driving the decline include:

  • The end of the Latin American baby boom — the average fertility rate in Latin American countries has fallen from more than 5 children per woman in 1970 to just more than 2 today.
  • Many Latin American economies have made significant gains in per capita income relative to the U.S., decreasing the economic benefit of emigrating.