By the end of 2012 there were 312 million Americans out of 7 billion people on the planet. By 2062--if we stay on the current policy track--there will be 500 million Americans out of 10 billion people on the planet, as compared to 340 million if we were to end net immigration now and if birthrates remained the same. In this sense, America in 2062 will--if we stay on our current policy track--be a nation that is 1/3 post-2012 immigrants.
The thoughtful Adam Ozimek thinks that isn't enough.
He thinks the United States needs more high-skill immigrants. I think the United States needs more immigrants--more people willing to take risks and work hard to seek a better life for themselves and their children, and illiterates from Chiapas seem to me as good as doctors from Calcutta:
[A] great article from Noah Smith on why we need a huge amount of Asian immigration. Noah is good at thinking about immigration more broadly than typical economists, and this article is no exception:
East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia together have over half the world’s population, but Asians make up only 5% of the United States. If our ethnic makeup was a portfolio of stocks, we would be severely underweight Asia. Asia is important not just because it is huge, but because it is growing rapidly. Trade with these countries will be incredibly important to the American economy this…. Furthermore, I believe that the cultural benefits of Asian immigration will be just as big as the economic and political benefits. Adding diversity to our melting pot will speed up America’s inevitable and necessary transition from a “nation of all European races” to a “nation of all races.”…
The second article is from Matt Yglesias who emphasizes what is perhaps the most important and least appreciated truth of our times: immigration is more important than most of the issues we spend all our time arguing about.
Imagine a counterfactual history of the United States… in which we never opened our borders to the ethnic “others” of the past—the Catholics and Jews of Eastern and Southern Europe, then more recently Asians and Latin Americans. That is a very different vision of America. Not a bad place, necessarily, but probably one that looks a lot more like New Zealand—pleasant, much less densely populated, much more focused on primary commodities, somewhat poorer, and much more monolithically focused on the originally settled port cities.
It’s the most important economic issue of our time, far more important than tax reform, and it is a lever that could help improve a lot of problems we have in this country. We should be shouting this from the rooftops daily.