Well, my plans for a great post about US census figures and minorities were blown out of the water by a much better looking and smarter blogger who got in first. Luckily, I also had something else to talk about that is kind of related.
The news about the US majoirty population now being a minority of births should help to reframe the debate on immigration (illegal or otherwise) to the USA. Two-thirds of the Hispanic growth in the US now comes from births rather than immigration. Not only are there more Hispanic babies being born, but the level of immigration from Mexico is declining sharply.
RealClearPolitics recently reported on the Pew Hispanic Centre’s latest estimates about net migration to the USA from Mexico.
“Pew’s demographers have carefully combed through statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Homeland Security and the Mexican government, and have come up with estimates of the flow of migrants from and back to Mexico. Their work seems to be as close to definitive as possible.
They conclude that from 2005 to 2010 some 1.39 million people came from Mexico to the United States and 1.37 million went from the U.S. to Mexico. ‘The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States,’ they write, ‘has come to a standstill.’”
Why is this the case? Well it seems that the ‘push’ factors from Mexico are becoming less important at the same time as the USA is seen as a less desirable destination for immigrants due to the GFC:
“One reason is that Mexico’s population growth has slowed way down. Its fertility rate fell from 7.3 children per woman in 1970 to 2.4 in 2009, which is just above replacement level.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s economy has grown. Despite sharp currency devaluations in 1982 and 1994, its per capita gross domestic product rose 22 percent from 1980 to 2010.
Mexico, like the United States, experienced a recession from 2007 to 2009. But since then, Mexico’s GDP has grown far faster than ours — 5.5 percent in 2010 and 3.9 percent in 2011.”
The full report can be read here.
Thus, fewer Mexicans are being born and the reasons why these Mexicans would want to leave their homeland for the shining city on the hill are also declining. Unlike the rest of the West, the USA seems to be able to continue to grow its population. However, this will be because it can rely on its recently arrived immigrants to grow the population (through their arrival and generally increased fertility). I would say that nothing much is new here – the USA has always been a nation of immigrants and has a strong history of integrating immigrants into the existing polity. This is why the USA will always have an advantage over its economic and geopolitical rivals to both the West (Europe) and the East (China).