Population - Demographics - Immigration

Declining fertility rates dictate a closer look at immigration policy.
Fertility Rates

The world's fertility rate is decreasing. In 1960 it was 5.0 in 2012 it was 2.5. That might at first glance look like cutting it in half. If though we consider the replacement rate of about 2.1 to be our base line and our goal, then since 1960 we have cut 2.5 from the fertility rate and have 0.4 to go. The fertility rate is the average number of children each woman has, the replacement rate is one that maintains a stable population from generation to generation.

 The Google Public Data Explorer is an excellent tool for visualizing and comparing population changes in nations, regions and the world. You can choose which nations and regions to compare. Other world development indicators can be examined.

It should be noted that decreases in population lag declines in the fertility rate. Population continues to grow for awhile after the fertility rate has dropped below the replacement rate. Replacement rates vary some from nation to nation, based on differences in such variables as infant mortality, health care, and longevity.


The dictionary.com definition of demographics is: "the statistical data of a population, especially those showing average age, income, education, etc."

In politics we talk about demographic as being favorable or unfavorable to the candidate. We're told that it was demographics that threatened Social Security. In a SS report summary we find:

"Due to demographic changes, the U.S. Social Security system will face financial challenges in the near future. Declining fertility rates and increasing life expectancies are causing the U.S. population to age. Today 12 percent of the total population is aged 65 or older, but by 2080, it will be 23 percent. At the same time, the working-age population is shrinking from 60 percent today to a projected 54 percent in 2080. Consequently, the Social Security system is experiencing a declining worker-to-beneficiary ratio, which will fall from 3.3 in 2005 to 2.1 in 2040 (the year in which the Social Security trust fund is projected to be exhausted). This presents a significant challenge to policymakers."

What is needed to bring the Social Security accounts into balance is an influx of new workers. We have a pool of young workers and immigrants that are significantly underemployed. We have an againing infrastructure that urgently needs to be restored and modernized. Deep energy retrofits often generate more than enough savings to pay for themselves in a few years. Immigrants are not a problem, rather they are a potential solution to the problem we have with a crumbling infrastructure. Belt tightening and austerity is not the solution to our economic problems, but their cause. We need to move quickly to employee this available pool of labor while it is available. Like our U.S. population that of the Mexico is also aging. There population is, like ours again. The fertility rate in Mexico is only slightly above the replacement rate. There is not a population explosion in Mexico as many believe and Mexican immigrants are not streaming over the border. In fact the number of Mexicans entering the U.S. and those returning to Mexico are in close balance.

Interest rates are at record lows. Now is the time to invest in our infrastructure and our future. A time to restore the middle class and the American dream.