US Immigration Policy Likely to Boost Population

September 21, 2009 • Daily Email Recap

Many thanks to Bob Walker for sending this article by Joseph Chamie, former Director of the UN’s Population Division.

Demographic trends, often ignored by policymakers, are clearly linked with the US’ immigration policy. If Congress and the Obama administration plan to implement an effective immigration policy, they need to understand how over time it will affect the country’s population figure. As demographer Joseph Chamie notes, policy makers should start by asking how large should the US’ population be. Answering this question will determine what should be the rate of immigration since immigration has a significant multiplier effect on population growth. The US is currently the most populous developed nation in the world and at current rates, it could overtake the European Union by the end of the century. Indeed, immigration policy affects not only domestic issues like social security and health care, which can have international implications as a result of government debt levels, but also affects the use of resources and carbon emission linked with global climate change. Imagine how high the US’ emissions could grow if its population were to double while retaining the current per capita carbon footprint? Until such questions are answered, immigration is unlikely to abate. – YaleGlobal

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