Interesting figures – overall, just under 15% of the U.S. population was born elsewhere but note this:
About 1 in 5 Americans between the ages of 40 and 64 was born overseas.
Source: Amid Slowdown, Immigration Is Driving U.S. Population Growth
By 2043 (see previous post), 100% of U.S. population growth will come from immigration. Today, a majority of U.S. population growth comes from immigration.
The decline in birthrate that has resulted in foreign-born people becoming an ever-larger share of the population is part of a worldwide demographic pattern.
When low fertility is coupled with low mortality, the result is a bulging population of seniors and relatively fewer workers to sustain them, a scenario faced by Japan and many European countries that then saw their economies shrink.
The movement of the baby boom generation out of the labor force amid a plummeting birthrate has put into sharper relief the need to reverse the decline in new immigration. This will be crucial, analysts say, despite the large numbers of immigrants already living in the country — soon those here legally will be drawing more from Social Security and Medicare.
The immigrants already here may provide part of the solution. Foreign-born residents typically account for a disproportionate share of all births because recent immigrant women are more likely than others to be in their prime childbearing years and to have more children.
From another report
- There were a total of 46.2 million immigrants (legal and illegal) in the country in November 2021. This is the largest number of immigrants ever recorded in any government survey or census going back to 1850.
- As a share of the total U.S. population, immigrants were 14.2 percent in November 2021 — the highest percentage in 111 years. The immigrant share of the population has tripled since 1970 and has come close to doubling since 1990.
- The number of immigrants in the country grew by 1.5 million between November 2020 and November of this year after declining by 1.2 million between February and September 2020 as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
- In just the last month — October to November 2021 — the total immigrant population increased by 470,000.
This trend has numerous important issues to consider.
One that I am looking at is that our population becomes “more global” and U.S. residents need to become more global in their skill sets and thinking. A reasonable estimate is that about 1 in 3 residents of the U.S. was born abroad, studied abroad, worked abroad or lived abroad at some point. But 2 out of 3 lack those experiences and may be ill equipped to work in a workforce that is extensively globalized and requires significant global skill sets.
You may have heard the joke:
- What do you call someone that speaks multiple languages? A Polyglot.
- What do you call someone that speaks two languages? Bilingual.
- What do you call someone that speaks one language? An American.
The U.S. must aggressively step-up development of global citizens. Consider that for many businesses, the international market is much larger than the domestic market. These businesses will preferentially hire and promote those who can successfully deliver solutions in an international marketplace. Those who succeed will have the required global skill sets.
Many Americans will not be able to compete with those who are globalized.
On a personal note, in my career, 100% of my managers had extensive global experience and perspectives. More surprising to me, after recently reviewing the LinkedIn profiles of past colleagues, is that a significant majority of past colleagues also had international experience. 100% of my peers that moved up in management had global experience; I did not, and my career plateaued (also possibly due to undiagnosed and untreated effects of multiple traumatic brain injuries – that were not address until late in my career).
The U.S. must be very pro-active about upping the global skills and global mindset of its residents in order to continue to compete effectively in the 21st century. So far, we are not doing this and as a result, we are importing global skills and our immigrant community is taking leadership positions in many businesses – because we cannot compete.
Note – due to immigration laws, many immigrants are highly educated and skilled, often beyond that of U.S. residents. This biases the reasons to see high skilled immigrants advancing in U.S. organizations – because they are better qualified by definition. We mostly import the highly skilled and educated.