Mars needs women and the US needs immigrants

Okay, I cannot actually speak to the former, but the latter is definitely true.  Nice piece in TNR taking a look at how important immigration is the demographic/economic health of the US (and by the way, so annoying that TNR bothers with blog posts, but then let’s you see all you want if you just follow the twitter links).

The policy implications of immigration are complex, as any expert will tell you. But there’s one reason to think that Hewitt and Will are onto something. It’s a demographic fact that gets surprisingly little attentionthe fact that, if not for immigrants and their children, the U.S. child population would be shrinking

There are more than 17 million children with at least one immigrant parent in the U.S. They represent over a quarter of the 70 million people under 18 years old. Their proportion will grow over time, as the number of children born to non-immigrant parents declinesin both relative and absolute terms.

Changes in US child population

This matters, because today’s young people make up tomorrow’s productive workforce, generating economic activity and supporting retirees. We already face a declining young-to-old population ratio, putting huge strain on Social Security and other safety net programs. The children of immigrants will provide a crucial and growing buffer against this demographic shift.

Rather than embrace this fact, though, our current immigration system isactually quite harmful to children, often separating them from their parents and harming, rather than nourishing, their development.

Now, obviously, we would strongly prefer people to immigrate legally rather than illegally, but it is desperately clear that major reform is needed to our immigration laws.  Yet one political party (I won’t tell you which one) is being entirely obstructive in the matter.  It is complex, but in the end, the US economy and therefore almost all of us, benefit from immigration and therefore a sensible immigration policy.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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