More is Not Necessarily Better (2009)
Mass Immigration is Unsustainable
According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, the U.S. population will double over the next century, and immigration will be responsible for two-thirds of that increase. Why should that concern us—isn’t growth good? In fact, growth is not intrinsically good or bad; what matters is quality of life.
The human body serves as an excellent metaphor for human society in this respect. Normal growth, the stable production of new cells at the right rate to replace old ones, is healthy. Runaway growth, the creation of new cells that are not needed is not healthy—we call it cancer.
Population Growth is No Longer Beneficial.
The United States has already passed the limit of beneficial growth. In a 1972 report, an ambitious two-year study by a joint Presidential-Congressional commission concluded that continued population growth was no longer useful for our country. At the time, the population was only 205 million; now the population is over 306 million—50 percent higher than when the commission saw no need for growth.
"We have looked for, and have not found, any convincing economic argument for continued population growth. The health of our country does not depend on it, nor does the vitality of business nor the welfare of the average person."
-Report of the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, 1972.
"Population policy is being made quite incidentally as a by-product of immigration policy. To a large degree, immigration policy is population policy, even if it is accidental."
-Sobering News from the Real World, Lindsey Grant, 1995.
Population growth is taking its toll on the United States.
- The U.S. loses two acres of farmland every minute.1
- Traffic congestion costs motorists $78 billion per year in wasted time and fuel.2
- Thirty Six states are projected to face water shortages by 2013.3
- The population of children for whom we need to build and staff schools will increase by 19 million over the next 40 years, with immigrants and their children accounting for the majority of the increase.4
- Immigration accounted for a 34 percent increase in U.S. energy usage from 1974 to 2000 .5
Zero Net Immigration is the Key to Zero Net Population Growth
Why must immigration be reduced to achieve a stable population? American natives achieved “replacement” rate (one child is born for each person that dies) in the 1970s and would be well on our way to stabilizing the population were it not for immigration.
But policy changes caused immigrant quotas to skyrocket. In 2008 we naturalized 3.3 times as many immigrants as in the year of the commission’s report, 1972. In addition, an estimated 500,000 immigrants moved to America illegally in 2008. Immigration is increasingly evident as the primary factor contributing to population growth.6
At present, our population is growing by about 3 million people per year, of which legal and illegal immigration directly contribute about 50 percent. The Pew Charitable Trust reports that if we do not lower the level of immigration back to traditional levels right away, our population will grow to 438 million by the year 2050—a 43 percent increase. Of that increase, 82 percent (108 million) will be post-2005 immigrants and their descendents.7 In order to save our environment from this demographic catastrophe we must act now to stabilize our population. We must support immigration reform.
Updated June 2009
- The Census on Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, 2007.
- Anthony Downs, Stuck in Traffic, 2001.
- Steve Nesius, “Crisis feared as U.S. water supplies dry up,” Associated Press, October 27, 2007.
- Jeffrey S. Passel, The Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S., Pew Hispanic Center, March 7, 2006.
- Running In Place: Immigration’s Impact on Energy Usage, 2001, FAIR.
- 2008 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, 2008.
- Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn, U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050, Pew Research Center, February 11, 2008.