It would appear that a distinctive mark of a modern society is that their citizens tend to have considerably less children, especially as the rise in cost of living makes it ever more necessary for both spouses to work instead of the proverbial stay-at-home role that was generally allotted to women in a family. Those fortunate of being able to sustain a household with one spouse’s salary alone have become fewer, and with mounting pressures for family restrictions, our nation’s population is seeing its effects play out. Not only is our future labor force diminished as a result of less births per capita, but the ability for tax-paying adults to support the growing number of elderly Americans is also jeopardized. In 2008, the Census Bureau had predicted the U.S. population would reach the 400 million milestone in 2039; but now, they have pushed that back to 2051.
The reason for this is because the “projected levels of births and net international migration are lower in the projections released in 2012 than in 2008.” The University of South California has concluded that the disparity between the rising number of senior citizens and the declining number of working adults will have severe effects on Social Security and Medicare systems and “workforce losses due to mass retirements will drive labor-force growth perilously low.” The only thing that will ease this critical situation are having higher levels of immigration. “Immigrants and their children will help to fill these jobs and support the rising number of seniors economically. At the same time, immigrant homebuyers are also crucial in buying homes from the increasing number of older Americans,” the report said. But this will be made that more difficult if immigration rates continue to decline or are stifled by excessive and unnecessary deportations.
While Congress can continue haggling over closing the deficit, aiming at each other’s necks to forge some compromise, more attention should be placed on immigration and its ability to close that gap or at the very least make our country’s finances and labor supply more manageable in long term.