A new study shows that the population of the United States will increase by more than 50 percent in the next half century, and that immigrants will account for more than 60 percent of that increase. The independent research group Center for Immigration Studies released the results of the study Thursday in Washington, D.C., and sponsored a panel discussion on the study's implications. Producer Zulima Palacio has more on the story. Jeffrey Young narrates it.
The study shows that more than 1.2 million new residents settle in the United States each year as the result of both legal and illegal immigration, much of it from Hispanic countries. The study concludes that the U.S. population will increase from its current 301 million people to 468 million by 2060 and that this will have a dramatic impact on the nation's workforce, retirement community, urban growth and environment.
The study's author, Steven Camarota, put into perspective what 167 million new immigrants and their descendants will mean. "The 167 million increase that the U.S. is on course for the next 53 years is equal to the combined populations of Great Britain, France and Spain, all together. The 105 million from immigration by itself is equal to 13 New York cities."
Camarota pointed out that his projections do not take into account any increases in immigration. "Net immigration has been increasing for five decades. If that trend continues, then immigration will add more than the 105 million projected from the current level. It is also worth noting that most of the 105 million comes from legal immigration."
Not all the panelists agreed with the idea that millions of new immigrants could have a negative impact. Ben Wattenberg is with the American Enterprise Institute. "There is always in America some kind of nativist, anti-immigrant feeling. A century ago, it was said that Jews were unclean, ignorant and spoke with a terrible accent. Their children and grandchildren won Nobel prices and shaped the global culture. And you can track every immigrant group, they started out being hated."
Study author Steven Camarota said population growth can lead to a deteriorating quality of life in the United States, but it does not have to. He said it could also lead better business opportunities. He said what the nation needs is a clear policy on immigration and population growth.