WASHINGTON, DC — A new report released today from George Mason University in collaboration with FWD.us, Increasing Future Immigration Grows the U.S.’ Competitive Advantage, presents new data making clear that increasing immigration is vital to the U.S.’ continued global economic leadership, and how the U.S. must raise immigration levels—and create a humane, orderly system for family- and employment-based immigration—in order to remain the world’s largest economy, maintain a strong, competitive workforce, and outperform global competitors.
The new report underscores how Congress must act with urgency to expand immigration avenues to help ensure the U.S.’ global competitiveness. The size, age, and skills of the U.S. population, which are all greatly enhanced and improved through immigration, will help determine our ability to stay competitive with other countries, support critical programs like Social Security, and grow an economy that creates jobs. Without boosting immigration significantly now, the U.S. will sacrifice our position as the world’s largest economy by 2030, and leave the reserves of vital programs like Social Security depleted by 2034.
“The data is clear: by increasing immigration and ensuring that our system of laws provides for humane, fair, and orderly processes for family- and employment-based immigration, the United States can maintain our global economic leadership, invest in a strong, innovative future workforce, and do right by millions of American families,” said Todd Schulte, President of FWD.us. “We encourage Congress and the Biden Administration to pursue policies that expand avenues to immigration for our continued prosperity, and to create new jobs across the country.”
“At a time when population dynamics promise rapid aging and a drop in economic productivity, welcoming more newcomers would make the United States workforce younger and more prosperous,” said Professor Justin Gest, a political scientist at George Mason University and the lead author of the study. “This study peers into a set of alternative American futures, and finds that much of our economic and population growth depends on whether Congress acts to recruit new citizens.”
Without increased immigration, the coming decades will see an increasingly older U.S. population, with the ratio of seniors to working-age adults increasing – and with our economy suffering as older Americans leave the workforce. This means that aging Americans will draw on safety net programs like Social Security more quickly than working-age people will be able to support them. It also means more of America’s resources will be devoted to supporting the aging population than to growing the economy through new investments and innovation.
As an example, if immigration levels were doubled, the senior-to-working-age ratio in 2050 would be 31 seniors (65 and older) for every 100 working age people (ages 16 to 64). Comparatively, projections indicate that if immigration levels are kept the same as they are today, 37 seniors would live in the U.S. in 2050 for every 100 working-age people. The U.S. can reverse these demographic trends and increase economic growth if elected officials in Congress strategically increase immigration, as well as continuing to reject calls from immigration restrictionists to cut legal immigration levels.
Projections show that U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) could double and grow as large as $47 trillion in today’s dollars in 2050 if immigration levels were doubled to more than 2 million new permanent and temporary immigrants each year.
Per capita, this increase would lead to a 3% increase in average income by 2050 for all Americans compared with keeping immigration at recent levels, and a 7% increase compared with a zero immigration scenario.
Delaying major immigration reform hurts the U.S. economy and millions of families. The U.S.’ economic and demographic future is directly linked to future immigration to our country. The status quo on immigration is unacceptable for our future prosperity.
Read the new report here: “Increasing Future Immigration Grows the U.S.’ Competitive Advantage”