by Max Brantley
China today boasts roughly five workers for every retiree. By 2040, this highly desirable ratio will have collapsed to about 1.6 to 1. From the start of this century to its midway point, the median age in China will go from under 30 to about 46, making China one of the older societies in the world. At the same time, the number of Chinese older than 65 is expected to rise from roughly 100 million in 2005 to more than 329 million in 2050—more than the combined populations of Germany, Japan, France, and Britain.Trends suggest China, which is 4.5 times the U.S. in population, may in time be only about twice the size of the U.S. The U.S. workforce is growing while China's shrinks. How's that?
That the U.S. is not facing population shrinkage is due largely to immigration. America’s fertility rate, while higher than that of China and many European countries, is still below the threshold required to avoid shrinkage, about 2.1 children per woman. By keeping its doors relatively open to newcomers, America is able to replenish itself. If the country were instead to shut its doors, its population would plateau and its median age would climb more steeply. According to the Pew Research Center, immigrants and their children and grandchildren will account for 88 percent of U.S. population growth over the next 50 years.The article says that immigrants have been demonized as criminals (including by Trump, I'd note); viewed as here only to take undesirable jobs, and, sometimes, vital to growth in technological fields.
The truth is broader and far less exotic. America assimilates outsiders on a scale matched by no other powerful country: Immigrants inhabit every rung of society and work in every sector. Immigration, perhaps more than any other single factor, sustains American prosperity. And immigration will, shrieking campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, spare the United States the fate now threatening to engulf its competitors.Still want to vote Trump?