Simply, lagging births and slowing immigration mean fewer workers, less production and the specter of languid economic growth, or none.
There is little countries can do to lift their native-born birthrates; nor is it even clear why the U.S. fertility rate, which now stands substantially below the replacement rate of 2.1 babies per woman, is so low. By contrast, there is plenty the country can and should do to quicken the admission of refugees, asylum seekers and other legal immigrants. Their arrivals have slowed in recent years, at first because of the economic crisis arising from the Great Recession and later as a result of Mr. Trump’s campaign to demonize migrants, and a related cascade of bureaucratic measures designed by his administration to slash the number of newcomers.
This nation’s prosperity, pluck, ambition and effervescent character are the products of more than 100 million immigrants who have sought better lives in the United States since its founding. More than 70 million of them arrived in the half-century between 1965 and 2015, an era of astounding economic expansion. The foreign-born portion of our population, roughly 13.7 percent, is high by historical standards, but not as high as it was shortly after the turn of the 20th century.