News Column

Immigration Reform Offers Demographic Dividend

August 20, 2013

Isaac Cohen --

multicultural voters

Some economic arguments in favor of immigration reform have focused on the contribution to economic growth and innovation, either through the creation by immigrants of high tech companies, or by the contribution of high-skilled workers to the most innovative companies.

Less has been heard about what can be called immigration's demographic dividend.

The populations of several advanced economies and China, because of the one-child-only policy, are aging and decreasing rapidly. Natural population decrease happens when the number of deaths exceeds the number of births.

In the U.S., due to immigration, the population is still increasing. However, recent figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on June 13 reveal that in 2011-12, for the first time in this century, among the white majority the number of deaths exceeded births by 12,419.

Furthermore, the indicator has been declining consistently, from 319, 535 more births than deaths in 2006-2007. The reason why this will not be reflected in overall U.S. population growth is because of an increase in the number of births among minorities.

This so-called demographic dividend from immigration manifests itself in the fact that one-fourth of all children in the U.S. are Hispanic.

During the next two decades, 1.1 million young Hispanics will turn 18 years old every year, helping to avoid the population decline anticipated in societies less welcoming of immigrants.

Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, a commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Espaņol TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.


Find out how U.S. Hispanic-owned export companies are doing in the Export Enterprises: Expanding the Marketplace overview.

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