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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 23. | WILLisms.com | Random Thoughts While Riding My Bike. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 169 -- U.S. Immigration.

U.S. Immigration-

After a brief lag following 9/11, immigration to the United States is booming. This decade could very well break the all time record. Take a look at the history of U.S. immigration, by decade:



Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

Indeed, America still beckons (underlining mine):

Europe may be a great place to visit, but U.S. emigration to the continent is paltry—while the reverse flow from Europe to the United States remains at consistently high levels even with the somewhat bothersome screenings imposed after 9/11. While Europeans are no longer the primary immigrants to the U.S. (that role having been taken over by Latin Americans and Asians), they remain an important factor in the continuing re-invention of America.

As in the past, immigrants from France, Italy, Germany and other parts of Europe continue to come to America to participate in an economy that is more dynamic, healthier, and generally more open than what they are leaving behind. America’s economic appeal has been broadened by Europe’s long-term competitive decline; its portion of world GDP dropped from 34 percent to 20 percent between 1913 and 1998, while the United States held its own at about 22 percent of global GDP (even amidst the Third World boom of the last generation).

Most recently, Europe’s position has weakened considerably. Since the 1970s, America has created some 57 million new jobs, compared to just 4 million in Europe (with most of those in government). For the last quarter century, the United States has enjoyed consistently higher rates of economic growth and productivity than European countries, and the gap has been widening....

...the United States remains a tremendous lure for many Europeans, especially younger, educated individuals. This is particularly true in technological fields, where Europe’s best brains are leaving in droves. Some 400,000 E.U. science and technology graduates currently reside in the United States, and barely one in seven, according to a recent European Commission poll, intend to return....

America’s superior per capita income, its leadership of critical global industries, and its higher quality of life are reflected in everything from housing space to consumer prices. This is all the more remarkable given that the country continues to absorb poor migrants from across the globe. America’s demographic vitality makes it nearly one of a kind among modern nations.

Thanks to significantly higher fertility rates and immigration, America’s population is growing far faster than Europe’s, particularly Spain’s, Italy’s, and Germany’s. Europe has far more old people than the United States, and a shrinking workforce. Even amidst high unemployment, there remain persistent shortages of technical workers. Overall labor-force participation in the E.U. is well below that of the United States.

Europe’s percentage of the world’s population has now fallen below 7 percent, down from 12 percent in 1950. It is expected to drop to barely 4 percent by 2050. These are not auspicious conditions either for future sales or the supply of ambitious workers. In some European countries, such as Italy, the number of deaths already exceeds births. By 2025, the average age in Europe will be 45, six years older than in the United States. By 2050 many European countries—including those of the former eastern bloc—could suffer loss of population.

Europe remains home to the world’s greatest historic cities, but many of them are losing people, too. Many American cities have enjoyed healthy population increases—not just sunbelt capitals like Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Houston but also older cities like New York City (largely due to immigration). Growing communities are generally friendlier for both employers and job-seekers.

These demographic factors place Europeans at a disadvantage. Since much of the immigration to Europe comes from poorly educated (for the most part) workers from Africa and the Middle East, it has not appreciably increased the continent’s supply of skilled workers. There is also deep-seated hostility to the newcomers among natives; nearly a third of E.U. citizens describe themselves as decidedly “prejudiced” against the continent’s current immigrants. In addition, the powerful welfare state mechanisms in Europe tend to keep both newcomers and displaced native workers out of the workforce and on the dole, further exacerbating the pressures on the economy and the social resentments.

To a large extent, Europe has also turned its back on new industries and younger people, choosing security for the current population over future opportunity. So despite large numbers of retiring workers in France, for instance, unemployment among the young has been rising—with joblessness among workers in their twenties now well exceeding 20 percent. The European welfare state also forces younger workers to pay heavily for a radically escalating number of pensioners and benefit recipients. Since 1970, Germany’s ranks of unemployed and retired have soared by some 80 percent, while the working population grew by a mere 4 percent....

All told, European immigration to the United States jumped by some 16 percent during the 1990s. Europe’s percentage of total immigrants to the U.S. rose crisply between 1998 and 2001. Visa applications dropped after 9/11, but then increased last year by 10 percent. The total number of European-born Americans increased by roughly 700,000 during the last three years, with a heavy inflow from the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, and France. These new immigrants have dispersed across many parts of the country, but have been especially drawn to New York, California, and Florida. Today’s westward human flow across the Atlantic is more critical to the future of the United States than mere numbers can indicate. In contrast to many of our other immigrants, newcomers from Europe, particularly those under 40, tend to be highly educated....

An analysis of recent census numbers indicates that white immigrants to New York (the vast majority of whom are from Europe) represent the largest number of contributors to the net growth of educated young people in the city. Without the disproportionate contributions of these young Europeans, New York would actually have suffered a net outflow of educated people under 35 during the late 1990s. Overall, there are now half a million New York City residents who were born in Europe.

The United States is still the shining city on the hill.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Economic Freedom.

Posted by Will Franklin · 14 September 2005 12:12 PM


It's like the old saying:

"Yankee Go Home -- and take me with you!"

Posted by: KipEsquire at September 14, 2005 12:22 PM

I've always liked that phrase.

Posted by: Will Franklin at September 14, 2005 12:24 PM

Since the US allows dual citizenship the natives of countries that also allow it have more incentive to get dual status.

Some countries supply benefits by citizenship rather than by years worked. In general the more socialist areas such as the EU regard mere origin as the basis for entitlement.

i.e. An Italian might move to America and work here, then retire in Italy with old-age pensions and medical care from both Italy and the US. You also have additional legal hedges - in case things go wrong - move.

I use Italy only for illustration. Those knowing more about this than I do should comment.

Posted by: K at September 14, 2005 03:21 PM

Obviously you're talking about legal immigration here. Illegal immigration is booming also - I must be a hateful person for drawing distinctions between the two.

Posted by: Giacomo at September 14, 2005 04:00 PM

I'm reminded of something Theodore Roosevelt once said:

In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile…We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language…and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.

Posted by: Rob at September 14, 2005 07:02 PM

Great quote. Some of our national representatives would do well to re-read it.

Posted by: Giacomo at September 15, 2005 05:06 AM