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How Today’s Immigration Population Differs From Previous Decades

Digested “Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065”
Pew Research Center (9/28/15)

The percentage of people living in the United States who were born in another country has risen from 4.8 percent in 1965, when the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act was enacted and the quota system was abolished, to 13.9 percent in 2015. It is expected to increase to 17.7 percent by 2065.  

In 1965, America was 84 percent non-Hispanic white, 11 percent black, 4 percent Hispanic, less than 1 percent Asian and less than 1 percent “other.” Without the repeal of the quota system, the population in 2015 is projected to have been 75 percent white, 14 percent black, 8 percent Hispanic, 3 percent other and less than 1 percent Asian. Instead, it’s 62 percent white, 12 percent black, 18 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Asian and 2 percent other. 

The quota system favored white European countries, such as Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, so white immigrants were by far the majority of the 1965 immigrant population (80 percent). Now whites make up 18 percent of immigrants, while Hispanics are the largest group, at 47 percent. By 2065, it’s expected that Asians will constitute the largest demographic (38 percent), followed by Hispanics (31 percent), whites (20 percent), blacks (9 percent) and other (2 percent). 

Most immigrants today are more educated than were those in previous decades, but they are also poorer; if that trend continues, it may affect affordable housing. U.S. sentiment is that current immigrants are less likely to assimilate to U.S. customs, including learning English; assuming that’s true, additional language barriers also may be a factor in the future.  

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