More Immigration Is The Answer    -   January 2, 2021

Declining Birth Rate – Trouble For America

At 1.7, the average number of babies born over a lifetime to American women is below replacement level (2.1).  Has been for more than a generation.  Absent change or compensation, such a low birth rate is a serious economic problem, especially for seniors.

Not only are American women having fewer children, the average age at which they bear their first child has advanced from 21.4 years in 1970 to 26.9 in 2018.  Unchanged, the combination of these two factors means fewer economic producing and consuming units, and fewer workers supporting a growing older demographic – a stagnating economy and higher taxes.

History shows that as people become better educated and affluent they have fewer children, and later in life.  Because economic effects emerge very slowly, few leaders see what’s happening or act to do anything about it.  We probably can’t change this phenomenon, but we can compensate.

Annual new births in America are 1.5 – 2.0 million short of what’s required to maintain a stable population over the long term.  While legal immigration compensates for around a million of that shortfall, as its primary national interest immigration policy should target complete compensation for declining birth rate.  Such would require 50-75 percent more immigrants.

To perfectly ‘replace’ babies that would have been born, grown up and educated in America, immigrants would have characteristics identical to those ‘replaced’ babies by the time they’d have reached the same age as the immigrants.  That’s obviously unrealistic.  But we can approach that ideal by establishing linguistic and education requirements for specific ages of immigrants.  And we can encourage timely assimilation by changing laws, regulations and institutional ‘accommodations’ that inhibit assimilation.

Simply put, America’s new immigration policy should admit many more legal immigrants, and most of those immigrants should meet age-specific minimum standards of English literacy and educational achievement.  Moreover, provisions for use of multiple languages in government communications and general public education should be sharply curtailed.  Incentives should be provided, if necessary, for non-government entities to help new immigrants to assimilate.  Will there be exceptions?  Of course.  But they should be EXCEPTIONS.

The new Congress should get about the very difficult task of comprehensive immigration reform, and the new policy should be clearly focused on compensating for our declining birth rate.

(For more, preview Immigration here.)


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