The World at 8 Billion: Immigration and America’s Population Growth
A variety of factors are responsible for shifting migration patterns. Among these are volatile economic conditions, conflict, natural disasters, and environmental degradation to name a few. But where are all of these people moving to? Population is not evenly spread across the globe, and each region takes on different shapes and sizes. While the population of some countries continue to shrink, for example Japan and some Eastern Europeans nations, others are experiencing tremendous growth like India and the United States.
Immigration-fueled population growth is the primary contributor to America’s increasing population, unlike India which is experiencing a high natural population increase. Research by FAIR shows that new immigrants and their U.S.-born children currently make up 75 to 80 percent of our annual population growth. This begs the more important question: Is uncontrolled mass immigration to the United States sustainable in the long run?
Immigration is a complex issue that has many effects on a nation’s economy, security, natural resources, and environment. While global migration pressures will increase as global population grows, each nation is responsible for determining its limits by considering the needs of its own population first. According to FAIR, the United States currently has 49 million foreign-born residents with 2.5 million entering the country in the last two years alone. At the end of 2021, FAIR estimated that a whopping 15.5 million illegal immigrants reside in the United States. That number has only gone up.
The impact of uncontrolled immigration on states has been wide-ranging. First of all, cheap labor, among other factors, has negatively undercut both skilled and unskilled American workers by contributing to wage stagnation and unfair labor hiring preferences. Second, immigration-fueled population exacerbates urban-sprawl, congestion, and environmental degradation near major metropolitan areas in states like Florida and California. We must also account for the effects each new person arriving in the country has on our available land and natural resources. Some states are experiencing intense water shortages and rolling blackouts. Others are facing the negative effects of overdevelopment such as more polluted waterways and farm land transformed into living space. We must live within the limits of our finite resources and adopt immigration policies that reflect those realities.
As we brace for the 8 billionth person to arrive in just about two weeks, the UN projects that the 8.5 billion mark is just seven years away. In 2022, North America’s population already sits at 602 million, in which the United States makes up more than half of the continent’s total population. If current migration trends continue, we need immigration policies that prioritize our border controls.