Tomás Jiménez quoted in the New York Times

Tomás R. Jiménez

Amid Slowdown, Immigration Is Driving U.S. Population Growth

A declining birthrate and pandemic deaths helped drive U.S. population growth to historic lows. But immigration appears to be back on the rise.

Overall, 2021 will go down as the year with the slowest population growth in U.S. history.

New census data shows why: Both components of growth — gains from immigration, and the number of births in excess of the number of deaths — have fallen sharply in recent years. In 2021, the rate of population growth fell to an unprecedented 0.1 percent.

Yet within these sluggish figures a new pattern is emerging. Immigration, even at reduced levels, is for the first time making up a majority of population growth.

In part this is because Americans are dying at higher rates and having fewer babies, trends accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s also because there are signs that immigration is picking up again.

Even after four years of stringent controls on immigration imposed under former President Donald J. Trump, the overall share of Americans born in other countries is not only rising, but coming close to levels last seen in the late 19th century.

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