While some policymakers have blamed immigration for slowing U.S. wage growth since the 1970s, most academic research finds little long run effect on Americans’ wages.
The available evidence suggests that immigration leads to more innovation, a better educated workforce, greater occupational specialization, better matching of skills with jobs, and higher overall economic productivity.
Immigration also has a net positive effect on combined federal, state, and local budgets. But not all taxpayers benefit equally. In regions with large populations of less educated, low-income immigrants, native-born residents bear significant net costs due to immigrants’ use of public services, especially education.
- The American Family is changing in response to the pressures and opportunities facing young individuals.
- Many children today are being raised by single parents, which is associated with a lower transmission of skills to succeeding generations.
- Technological advances and public provision of social protection benefits appear to be contributing to the decline of the nuclear family.
- The demographic transition toward an older population is ongoing in America and Europe. The transition began earlier in Europe where fertility rates have declined much more. Will America follow in Europe’s footsteps?
- Procreation and family formation appears influenced by the social and economic conditions facing young adults. Younger American women appear to be postponing childbirth. Will this reduce future American TFR to still lower levels?
- Government policies influence the economic environment and affect fertility choices indirectly. Social Security and various retiree health programs have likely reduced fertility, making their own financing more difficult.
- The baby bust of the 1960s saw the U.S. total fertility rate (TFR) dip to just below the 2.1 live births per woman needed to prevent population decline.
- U.S. TFR fell again after the Great Recession of 2008-09, which eroded women’s and couples’ economic ability to bear and raise children.
- Large and persistent declines in European fertility to well below the 2.1 threshold is a worrisome precursor: America’s budget problem of funding elder-care would worsen if the U.S. TFR meets with the same fate as that of Europe.