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Guest view: Immigration gives US an advantage over other great powers

Magazine, Immigration,

Many Americans are concerned about the growing challenge of China, an authoritarian nation with three times our population. But in the struggle for our economies and cultures to dominate the remainder of the 21st Century, both the United States and China have a variety of advantages and disadvantages.

During the Trump years, even legal immigration to the United States was discouraged. Yet the fact that we are a nation of immigrants is one of our great strengths. A study of China’s demographics, however, reveals some long-term challenges.

Demographics is the study of populations, and can frequently foretell major economic and social changes decades into the future. The nations that fought in World War II had similar demographic profiles due to the war. During the war the birth rate declined. After the war, there was a baby boom in most of the combatant’s countries.

In the 1960s the Baby Boomers generation reached what sociologists recognize as the crime-prone years, age 15 to 25. Crime rates began to rise. When the tail end of the Boomers cohort began to age out of their young adult years, crime rates fell.

The Baby Boomers around the world are now starting to retire, placing increasing burdens on national pension systems, health care budgets, and the available workforce. At the same time, birth rates are falling nearly everywhere. A birth rate of below a 2.1% replacement rate, without external sources of population, will cause populations to age and shrink in size.

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