Birthrates, Immigration, and National Identity

The United States currently has one of the highest proportions of foreign-born residents in its history. At nearly 50 million, over 15 percent of the people living in America were born somewhere else.

The hotly debated pros and cons of mass immigration tend to center on economic arguments (that immigrants either benefit or harm America’s economy) or cultural ones (that immigrants either enrich or undermine American culture).

It is impossible to take a position in these debates without inciting hostility from one side or the other. But no matter what position one may take, it is useful to look at immigration in the context of global population trends.

The official United Nations estimate shows global population rising from the current 7.8 billion to peak at 10.9 billion in 2100. But this projection is disputed by demographers Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson in their 2020 book “Empty Planet.” Taking data from numerous recent studies and official reports, nation by nation, their estimate has global population peaking at 9.0 billion by 2050 and declining thereafter.

Everything about this has profound implications. The authors cite urbanization as a central variable affecting population growth, claiming that “in rural settlements children provide farm labor, whereas in cities a child is just another mouth to feed.” More education, more access to healthcare, and a lower prevalence of religious influence are other reasons the authors claim that urbanization lowers birth rates.

True or not, the correlation is undeniable. In 1960, two-thirds of humanity lived […] Read More