Study: Asians to become largest immigrant group

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Asians expected to become largest US immigrant group: Study.

WASHINGTON – In a major shift in immigration patterns over the next 50 years, Asians will have surged past Hispanics to become the largest group of immigrants heading to the United States, according to estimates in a new study of immigration patterns. An increase in Asian and Hispanic immigration also will drive U.S. population growth, with foreign-born residents expected to make up 18 percent of the country’s projected 441 million people in 50 years, the Pew Research Center said in a report being 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. The foreign-born, who made up just 5 per cent of the nation’s population in 1965, when Congress completely rewrote the country’s immigration laws, make up 14 per cent today, the study found. 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. 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.

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. 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.

Americans also said immigrants are likely to make the US better, with 45% agreeing with that statement and 37% saying they make the country worse; 18% said they don’t have much of an effect one way or the other. Currently, Americans have a more positive view of Asian immigrants than of Latinos, according to a survey Pew did along with the population projections.

Forty-nine percent offered general descriptions, and of those 12 percent were positive, 11 percent negative and 26 percent neutral, according to the report. 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. The Pew study was designed to look at how immigration has changed the racial and ethnic make-up of the US since Congress passed the 1965 Immigration and Naturalisation Act. 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.

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. 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.

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