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Un articolo comparso oggi 20 marzo sul New York Times riporta un interessante grafico sul futuro del numero di abitanti negli USA. A partire dagli attuali 333 milioni, il grafico mostra quanti saranno nel 2100 variando le quantità di immigranti ammessi nel territorio. Con zero immigranti il numero scenderà a poco più di 250 milioni; mantenendo invariati i numeri degli ultimi decenni salirà oltre i 370 milioni. Il grafico mostra quanto sbagliata sia la politica di chiusura proposta da Trump. Sarebbe utile poter avere un calcolo simile per la nostra Italia: come saremo ridotti senza nuovi immigranti? Credo che il calo di abitanti sarebbe anche più vistoso che in America, vista la  scarsità di nascite locali rispetto alle morti. Riporto qui sotto con un copia-incolla l’articolo intero.


The Morning

March 20, 2024

Good morning. We’re covering a growing challenge for the U.S. economy — as well as the Supreme Court, Hong Kong and supersonic travel.

A view of the Statue of Liberty from a ferry.

Peak population. Since its inception, the U.S. has relied on population growth to keep its economy pumping. New generations of native-born Americans and immigrants enter the work force; they produce goods and services and then spend their income, in a cycle that drives supply, demand and growth. They also pay taxes that fund programs like Social Security and Medicare. Over every 50-year period in U.S. history, the population has grown at least 50 percent, sometimes by far more.But that’s about to change. Americans now have fewer children than past generations did. And depending on levels of immigration, the country’s population may plateau in the coming decades.Take a look at this chart, based on census data collected by the demographer William Frey. It shows what would happen to the U.S. population in four different scenarios. In each one, the population eventually peaks. But how soon it happens depends on how much immigration the country has:The line labeled “historical” roughly tracks the immigration trends of the previous decade. The “high” line is nearly double the historical level, and “low” is roughly half. Depending on which path the country follows, the U.S. could have decades more or decades fewer of population growth.The zero-immigration projection is unrealistic. The U.S. always has some level of immigration, including illegal entries, and no major politician is talking about banning all legal immigration. Still, that projection is helpful because it shows how important immigration is to population growth. With no more immigrants, U.S. population growth would flatline this year.Many Americans favor lower levels of immigration. They worry that new immigrants take jobs and reduce pay. They also fear that the new arrivals can change a nation’s culture. Immigration, especially the illegal kind, has fueled political instability around the world. Racism and xenophobia also play a role.But immigration has benefits. It has helped keep America’s economy ahead of its peers’ in the aftermath of the pandemic, as my colleague Lydia DePillis wrote. Without more immigrants, the economy and social programs could suffer in the coming decades. The U.S. could follow the path of other economies that have stagnated along with their population levels, such as Japan and potentially China.A global situationOf course, there is another way that the U.S. could increase its population: Americans could have more children. But that seems unlikely. Historically, people have fewer kids as they become wealthier and gain more access to birth control. Fertility rates have declined for decades, and most rich nations now fall below the so-called replacement rate of 2.1 babies for every woman.Some countries have tried to persuade people to have more children. Those attempts, in Hungary, Sweden, Singapore and elsewhere, have generally failed. They appear to get people to have children earlier, but not to have more kids.Demographers expect the world’s population to peak in the coming decades — likely around 10 billion in the 2080s, according to experts at the U.N. (For Times Opinion, the economist Dean Spears walked through several population projections.)This may not ultimately be a bad thing. Most people prefer having control over whether and when they have children. Tight labor markets could lead to wage increases. And perhaps new technologies, like artificial intelligence, could power economic growth even if the population declines, including in the U.S.But a world with a shrinking population is very different from what humans have ever seen. Since the Industrial Revolution, countries have leveraged high population growth to bolster their economies and government programs. Soon, they will no longer be able to do so.For more

In New York. Todd Heisler/The New York Times
A chart shows population size projections based on four immigration scenarios: high, historical, low and zero.
Source: William H. Frey, Brookings | By The New York Times
A row of women sat on the floor with babies, reading books.
In Frisco, Texas. Meridith Kohut for The New York Times
  • Do millennials not want children, or are they merely delaying having them? Read more about the issue.
  • About two-thirds of people now live in a country or area where fertility rates are below replacement level. For more on plummeting birthrates, listen to this podcast.
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