Immigration To Add 100+ Million To U.S. Population By 2060

New Report Takes Detailed Look at Different Levels of Admissions

WASHINGTON (August 30, 2007) — A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies projects how different levels of immigration would impact the future size of America's population. The findings, carefully modeled on earlier projections by the Census Bureau, show that the current level of immigration will add 105 million to the population by 2060, while having a small effect on the aging of society.

The report, entitled ''100 Million More: Projecting the Impact of Immigration on the U.S. Population, 2007 to 2060,'' will be online at . Among the other findings:

* Currently, 1.6 million legal and illegal immigrants settle in the country each year; 350,000 immigrants leave each year, resulting in net immigration of 1.25 million.

* If immigration continues at current levels, the nations population will increase from 301 million today to 468 million in 2060 — a 167 million (or 56 percent) increase. Future immigrants plus their descendants will account for 105 million (or 63 percent) of the increase.

* The total projected growth of 167 million is equal to the combined populations of Great Britain, France, and Spain. The 105 million from immigration by itself is equal to 13 additional New York Cities.

* If the annual level of net immigration was reduced to 300,000, future immigration would add 25 million people to the population by 2060 — 80 million fewer than the current level would add.

* The above projection follows exactly the Census Bureau's assumptions about future birth and death rates, including a decline in the birth rate for Hispanics, who comprise the largest share of immigrants.

* Net immigration has been increasing for five decades; if that trends continues, the increase caused by immigration will be higher than the projected 105 million.

* While immigration has a very large impact on the size of the nation's population, it has only a small effect in slowing the aging of American society.

* At the current level of net immigration (1.25 million a year), 61 percent of the nation's population will be of working age (15 to 66) in 2060, compared to 60 percent if net immigration were reduced to 300,000 a year.

* If net immigration was doubled to 2.5 million a year it would raise the working-age share of the population by one additional percentage point, to 62 percent, by 2060. But that level of immigration would create a U.S. population of 573 million, double its size in the 2000 Census.

Policy Discussion: The findings of this study make clear that the debate over immigration should not be whether it makes for a much larger population — without question it does. Consistent with the findings of the Census Bureau, these projections also show that the debate over immigration should not be whether it has a large impact on the aging of society — without question it does not.

The central question this study raises and that Americans must answer is what costs and benefits come with having a much larger population and a more densely settled country. Some see a deteriorating quality of life with a larger population, including its impact on such things as pollution, congestion, loss of open spaces, and sprawl. Others may feel that a much larger population will create more opportunities for businesses, workers, and consumers. These projections do not resolve those questions. What the projections do tell us is where we are headed as a country. The question for the nation is: Do we wish to go there?

Methodology: This report uses the Census Bureau's assumptions about future birth and death rates from its most recent projections and then simply varies the immigration component. The last Census Bureau projection, released in March 2004, incorporated only one immigration scenario into the projection, so immigration's impact was unclear. The new Center for Immigration Studies report is the first to show the impact of so many different levels of immigration.

At present, elected officials have no way of knowing how 200,000 immigrants a year versus two million immigrants a year might affect the population in, say, a 20- or 50-year time period. These projections provide the answers. The new projections are based on the most recent immigration data, whereas the March 2004 Census Bureau projections were based on data collected in the 1990s prior to the results of the 2000 Census, and assumed a much lower level of immigration than was actually the case.

Contact: Steven Camarota, (202) 466-8185,


Center for Immigration Studies
1522 K St. NW, Suite 820
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076