Report discusses the “demographic crisis” facing the American economy caused by low birth rates and an aging population and how immigration might help ease this crisis

According to the authors of this report, the U.S. is in the midst of a “demographic crisis” due to its aging population and the economic challenges associated with such a troublesome development. The average age has been increasing each year, leading to a smaller workforce and slower economic growth. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that between 2000 and 2021, the national median age in the United States increased by 3.4 years from 35.4 years to 38.8 years. Between 1944 and 2013, the percentage of American citizens 65 years and older doubled from 7% to 14%. The authors argue that immigration policy can help address the economic challenges associated with these changes by helping to offset the decline in the working-age population; by filling important gaps in the labor market; by bringing new knowledge, innovative ideas, and expertise that can benefit native-born workers and businesses; and by paying taxes to help pay for Social Security and Medicare. Immigration, they conclude, will be a “vital tool” for the federal government to achieve its economic goals in the future.

The Demographic Transition: An Overview of America’s Aging Population and Immigration’s Mediating Role,
Bipartisan Policy Center, September 2023, 16 pp.
Authors: Justis Antonioli & Jack Malde