WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 2020 census numbers are in, and they are stark: Growth in the past decade was slower than in all but one decade in our nation’s history.
The findings underscore the demographic challenges facing the United States — challenges that an increase in legal immigration would avert, as a National Immigration Reform report makes clear.
Room to Grow: Setting Immigration Levels in a Changing America, released in February, identifies the need for an increase in net immigration to avoid socioeconomic decline. Authors Ali Noorani and Danilo Zak propose an evidenced-backed approach to setting immigration levels that addresses the demographic challenges of an aging population.
“The census numbers put the need for more legal immigration in stark relief,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “We need to modernize legal channels for the working-age immigrants our country needs to provide for our older population and sustain our economy.”
The report focuses on the Old Age Dependency Ratio (OADR) — the proportion of working-age adults to retirees — as an indicator of demographic health and immigration needs. To maintain our current OADR and economic health through 2060 would take an annual immigration increase of at least 37% over the current projected level, the authors find.