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he Center for Immigration Studies, a “non-profit immigration think tank which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted”, takes issue with the “forced optimism” of the Census Bureau’s latest projections of US population. They point out that the Census Bureau’s ‘middle series’ (a waffle term for ‘most likely’) projections of 404 million by 2050 and 571 million by 2100 rose by nearly 100 million and 300 million respectively from the projections made in the early ’90s because they simply failed to account for the rise in immigration and the higher fertility of immigrants. In 1989 the Bureau actually projected US population to peak in 2040 at 290 million people (that level has been reached already) and decline thereafter! Perhaps that’s why they’re now hedging their bets with a ‘highest series’ projection of 553 million by 2050 and 1.182 billion by 2100 (a quadrupling of 2000’s 275 million).

The CIS says that huge margin for error may be needed, because the middle figures assume that fertility of all ethnic and social groups will move quickly to the 2.1 replacement level. These projections fly in the face of the burgeoning proportion of Hispanic and Asian immigrants (doubling as a percentage of the population every thirty years), who evidence shows retain their high fertility rates for generations even when they move to America or other ‘assimilating’ cultures. This multiplier effect (more immigrants, each having more children) could easily prove the latest Census Bureau projections as unrealistically low as they were in the 1990s. The Census Bureau assumes immigration levels will be steady or decline slightly despite explosive populations in Latin American and Asia, and relentless efforts from people in those continents to move to America. The Census Bureau ignores the uncounted illegal immigrant population, most of which comes from — guess where, and also assumes there will be no new illegal immigration amnesties, which tend to spike immigration even higher. And with the Baby Boom generation nearing retirement and needing working-age people to balance the social service cost burden, demographer David Simcox predicts there may be a demand for even more immigrants to achieve that balance, leading to a perpetual, jerky population growth treadmill he calls ‘Ponzi’s Revenge’.

Even without Ponzi’s Revenge, the combination of these immigration factors could make the Census Bureau’s ‘highest series’ closer to the truth than the ‘middle series’. Imagine it — one billion Americans, in metropolitan areas with an average of six times their current population and (unless drastic Smart Growth changes are implemented) sprawling across ten times the area they currently occupy. Arable land left for farming reduced by 80-90% (better hope the new Americans are vegetarians or very rich).

Maybe now you can see why I believe population control is so vital to our world’s survival.

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  1. Mike says:

    Assuming we could feed them, if we packed the US to the same density as Hong Kong (Kowloon: Mong Kok), we could fit ruffly one trillion people in the US.Figures:3,537,438 square miles -680,259 square miles for farming (1992)2,857,179 nonfarm sq miles ~400,000 people/sq mileInside ‘Kowloon Walled City’, density approaches 5 million/sq mile ( If we did that, approx 20 trillion people could fit in the US.Not that it would be very nice, or that the heat generated from these 20 trillion people wouldn’t boil off the oceans.

  2. Indigo Ocean says:

    Population control is one of the most significant issues facing humankind. Whether the people live in their home countries or immigrate to the US, there just need to be fewer of them. The one thing that makes it worse when they live in the US though is that the lifestyle here is more consumptive than elsewhere. I vaguely recall that the US has something like 5% of the world’s population and consumes 80% of the world’s resources. Obviously the numbers don’t work to promote the survival of the Earth ecosystem if we even double our population without a radical shift in the way we consume natural resources. Additionally, we already see social decay, widespread depression, and many illnesses related to stress in the US. With increased population density I fear this will become a nation of maniacs. There will be far more random shootings from roadsides, abducted children, parents drowning their kids and so on as the nation basically goes mad. American culture seems to not be sufficiently well developed to withstand the psychological pressures endured by the millenial cultures of Asia. We are not as vulnerable as Africa’s made up nations of the post-colonial ’70’s, but not nearly as robust as China or India either.I new cultural meme that lauds the choice not to reproduce, instead of insanely calling it selfish, and recognizes the actual selfishness of large families is I think a necessary shift along with consumption changes that reflect environmental concerns. Both are going to be necessary or this planet is going to shuck us off.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Both the sprawling billions and the tightly packed trillions are very scary thoughts. I am in complete agreement with you.Eventually this type of behavior will catch up to us. In fact, one could make a pretty good argument that it has. First there was SARS, now there’s that flu out in Colorado that’s killed a few kids. What scares me is that we’re apparently long overdue for a flu outbreak like the “Spanish influenza” pandemic of 1918 that killed thousands of young, healthy adults. Indigo Ocean has a very good idea about giving people the choice to reproduce, and respecting that opinion regardless. I am one of those “selfish” people who doesn’t want to have kids. Most people either look at me like I’ve lost it or they dismissively wave their hand and announce that I’ll change my mind. Fortunately, since I’m iron-willed and spiteful, this doesn’t work on me.

  4. Raging Bee says:

    “With increased population density I fear this will become a nation of maniacs. There will be far more random shootings from roadsides, abducted children, parents drowning their kids and so on as the nation basically goes mad.”India and China aren’t Paradise by any stretch, but they’re still governable, and their far-more-tightly-packed peoples have yet to “basically go mad.”Let’s not drive ourselves to hysteria with this tired elitist notion that (other) people are nothing but stupid slavering animals who will go completely crazy and start eating each other when things go wrong. This has been said before, and both history and recent events have proven it wrong.

  5. Raging Bee says:

    On a more hopeful note, I read somewhere (several places actually) that the most effective population-control strategy is the liberation of women: equal political rights, and access to birth-control and abortion services. As women become freer, birth rates drop noticeably.

  6. 777 says:

    natures response to overpopulation is disease777

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