More Asian than Hispanic immigrants: political implications?

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Asians expected to become largest US immigrant group.

(CNN) — Asians are on pace to become the largest immigrant group in the the United States. Asians will increase from 26 percent of the immigrant population to 38 percent, and Hispanics will decrease from 47 to 31 percent, according Pew Research Center released a report released Monday. The surge of immigration that has reshaped the American population over the last half century will transform the country for several decades to come, the projections indicate. Immigrants and their children are likely to make up 88 per cent of the country’s population growth over the next 50 years, according to the study by the Pew Research Centre, which has tracked the effects of immigration on the country’s population for the last several decades. Whereas in 1965 most immigrants came from Europe, since then about half of all immigrants have come from Latin America, with one country, Mexico, sending by far the most people.

At a time when U.S. politicians and wannabe presidents are batting around arguments and insults about immigration, the nearly 130-page document provides nonpartisan analysis that explores trends and projects the future. No ethnic group will make up a majority of the US population, as non-Hispanic whites are expected to decrease 62 percent in 2015 to 46 percent by 2065. White immigrants to America, 80 percent back in 1965, will hover somewhere between 18 and 20 percent with black immigrants in the 8 percent to 9 percent range, the study said. The report, “Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065,” comes 50 years after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act.

Unlike the Latino population, which mostly shares a common language, Spanish, and many cultural traits, the census category of Asian takes in a vast array of ethnic and language groups, including Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Indians and Pakistanis. Because of an increasing Hispanic population, and the political indifference of Asian-Americans, Democrats are still expected to own the immigrant vote.

Part of the reason for the shift is that the fertility rate of women in Latin America and especially Mexico has decreased, said Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew’s director of Hispanic research. Twelve per cent said “illegal”; “overpopulation” was at 5%; “legality (other than illegal)” at 4%; and “jobs”, “deportation”, “Americans” and “work ethic” at 3% each. Since many Latinos are third- or fourth-generation Americans, they will remain a larger share of the total population, close to one-quarter of all Americans by midcentury. In 2010, only 31 percent of registered Asian-American voted, below the turnout of other demographic groups such as Hispanics, whites, and African-Americans.

Currently, Americans have a more positive view of Asian immigrants than of Latinos, according to a survey Pew did along with the population projections. Research blind to demographics has long proved that adults with higher levels of education and greater income are far more likely to vote in US elections. So although the Asian-American electorate seems disillusioned with US politics, some experts say this growing population is up for grabs. “The reason their political identity is important is because an overwhelming number of Asian-Americans are actually not affiliated with any party, and their numbers are growing quickly,” NPR reports.

Immigrants from the Middle East fared worse in public opinion, with just 20 per cent saying their effect on the country has been mostly positive, and 39 per cent saying their impact has been mostly negative. That law abolished a quota system based on national origin, which had barred most immigrants from outside of western Europe and led to a sharp increase in immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America. According to Pew projections based on current trends, by 2055 whites will lose their majority status in the population, and their share will continue to decline. But the official current population figure for those who are foreign-born is 45 million – a number that factors in those who’ve since left the U.S. or died.

He noted that the poll was conducted in the spring, before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sparked national debate with calls for much tougher immigration enforcement and criticism of some Mexican immigrants. With Mexicans accounting for only 15 percent of all new immigrants in 2013, the Pew report found, the share of newcomers who are Latino is at its lowest level in five decades. But he also points to the fact that it became more difficult to cross the border and to demographic changes in Mexico with fewer young people wanting to head north. About 45 percent of adults in the survey said immigrants were “making American society better in the long run,” while 37 percent said they were making it worse. The sentiments are reversed for Democrats, with about 55 percent saying immigrants make the country better and only 24 percent saying they make it worse.

Half of Americans would like to see a reduction in immigration, while eight in 10 people want to see the immigration system changed or completely overhauled. Immigrants from Asia and Europe fare best when it comes to how Americans view them, with 47 percent and 44 percent, respectively, seeing them in a positive light.

If there’d been no immigration since 1965, Pew researchers suggest that the face of America would look like this today: 75 percent white, 14 percent black, 8 percent Hispanic and less than 1 percent Asian.

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

About this site