This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Children of Immigrants as a Demographic Force in America

The Pew Hispanic Center has just released a new report showing that births among immigrants from Mexico (the largest source of migrants to the US) are now more important a factor in demographic growth than is immigration itself. This is, of course, an old story. Until the implementation of the racist national origins quota laws in the late 1920s, the children of immigrants had historically been more important to growth in the US than had the immigrants themselves. So, we are really just returning to a familiar theme from the past. 
Miriam Jordan of the Wall Street Journal has reported on the story:
The population of Latinos of Mexican origin, who represent nearly two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics, grew by 7.2 million between 2000 and 2010 as a result of births, but the Washington-based research center attributed only about 4.2 million to immigrant arrivals. In the previous two decades, the number of new Mexican immigrants in the U.S. either matched or exceeded the number of births.
The current surge in births follows the massive wave of Hispanic immigration to the U.S. that began in the 1970s. The tilt suggests that descendents of immigrants could be the main engine of U.S. population growth for decades to come.
Mr. Potter, the Texas state demographer, says the higher fertility among Hispanics is unlikely to last forever. "As the Hispanic population becomes more mainstream, fertility rates will decline," he said.
Some towns say Hispanics have helped them weather the economic downturn. But their arrival has also has posed challenges, such as pressure on schools to absorb new children.
"We just have to get through this transition time," says John R. Weeks, a demographer at San Diego State University. Ultimately, he says, "the children of immigrants are going to buoy up the economy. They are going to pay for Medicare and Social Security for the aging white population."

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