Evaluating the Role of Immigration in U.S. Population Projections

Stephen J. Tordella, Decision Demographics
Steven A. Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies
Tom E. Godfrey, Decision Demographics

Immigration is the most important and potentially volatile component in United States population growth. A key way to understand the influence of immigration is through population projections, yet existing projection series typically combine immigrants with the resident population as soon as immigration occurs. This project evaluates the role of immigration in U.S. population projections by establishing separate projection pathways for immigrants and natives. We replicate the official 2008 Census Bureau projections by race/ethnicity and then develop separate routines and assumptions for immigrants and natives. Using factors developed from the American Community Survey by age and race/ethnicity, we separate immigrants from natives in the starting population, and develop differential fertility assumptions for them. Mortality rates are retained from the original projections. We again replicate Census Bureau outcomes through 2050, employing separate assumptions by nativity and making slight adjustments. We then explore alternative immigration scenarios and their implications for future population growth.

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Presented in Session 3: International Migration