Population Growth Results in More People, Not More Prosperity, Finds New Report from FAIR

Jul 10, 2012, 13:47 ET from FAIR

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Though business lobby groups spend billions of dollars every year promoting policies that drive U.S. immigration and population growth, such policies fail to deliver more economic prosperity to the vast majority of Americans, finds a new report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). In most cases, rapid, immigration-fueled population growth results in increased unemployment and decreases in per capita income, concludes A Change of Plans: Rethinking Rapid Growth in a Finite World. It also leads to significant declines in quality of life, such as environmental degradation, urban sprawl, increased congestion, stress on public infrastructure, and strains on vital social institutions.

Nearly alone among developed nations, the United States is experiencing rapid growth in its population. The overwhelming majority of U.S. population growth is attributable to mass immigration. Between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. population grew by 27 million, the foreign-born grew by 9 million and with the children born to immigrants after their arrival, immigration accounted for about 70 percent of the nation's population growth.

A Change of Plans: Rethinking Rapid Growth in a Finite World refutes the notion that immigration-driven population growth is responsible for economic growth. Rather, the opposite is true. Real economic growth in a particular area, driven by innovation, attracts workers – including many immigrants – who compete for the jobs that are created, resulting in depressed wages. "Large-scale immigration is a consequence of economic growth, not a cause of it," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "Business lobbies are spending an extraordinary amount of money to promote mass immigration, because it drives down labor costs allowing them to pocket more of the profits. But while mass immigration may help corporate profit margins, Americans pay the cost.  Population growth has become an impediment to most Americans being able to share in the fruits of economic expansion."

Among the key findings of A Change of Plans: Rethinking Rapid Growth in a Finite World:

  • Between 2000 and 2009, a 1 percent increase in population was associated with a $2,500 decline in per capita income.
  • Rapid population growth fuels the boom-and-bust phenomenon. Slow growth cities in the U.S. saw per capita incomes increase during the recent recession, while rapidly growing cities experienced a 2.5 percent decline in per capita incomes.
  • Immigration-driven population growth fuels growth (and profits) for the housing and construction industry to accommodate the very population created by mass immigration, with many of the jobs going to the immigrants themselves.
  • Population growth has negated virtually all efforts to preserve the environment and conserve resources over the past 30 years.

"The evidence clearly demonstrates that we cannot grow our way to prosperity," Stein stated. "In 21st century America we need to be thinking in terms of better, not more. Raw growth does not equal better quality of life. GDP alone does not provide an accurate measurement of the strength of an economy, or the health of a society.

"Immigration policies need to reflect the larger interests of American society: wage equality, environmental sustainability, and social cohesion. The policies we have in place promote precisely the opposite. We must recognize that in a finite world unlimited growth is neither desirable nor possible."

The full report, A Change of Plans: Rethinking Rapid Growth in a Finite World, can be found at www.fairus.org.

About FAIR

Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group.  With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests.  FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced. Visit FAIR's website at www.fairus.org.