New Look Shows Greater Role in 1970-90 Population Increase
by Roy Beck

from The Social Contract Winter 1991-1992

A new computer study requested by The Social Contract shows that immigration is a far greater contributor to US population growth than usually stated. In fact, during the last twenty years immigrants and their descendants have contributed more than half the growth.

The news media almost universally say that immigration contributes to about a third of US population growth each year. Even people concerned about high immigration have been heard to use the figure. One-third is a very important proportion that demands attention. And it is substantially accurate, but only in terms of a single-year perspective.

The one-third figure seriously understates the full population impact of immigrants and their fertility rates over a longer period of time, according to the work of demographer Leon Bouvier. He is former vice president of the Population Reference Bureau and adjunct professor of demography at Tulane University School of Public Health.

His results open the way for the use of these much more powerful statements of the impact of immigration: