History shows us that Immigration has always played a role in the development of nations. Over time, sociologists and economists alike have identified certain trends in the influx of immigrants to U.S. Distinct periods of or “waves” of immigration are typically characterized based on demographic information. It is essential for us as a society to understand the changing landscape of immigration to the U.S. so that we may better adjust for the future. A recent study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau has demonstrated that the United States is once again going through a period of significant change.
Important Shifts in U.S. Immigration
A modern example of a wave or significant influx would be the large influx of individuals from Latin America. Data compiled by the Census Bureau over a period of thirteen years (2000 – 2013) reveals that although individuals born in either Mexico or other countries of Latin America are the largest immigrant populations overall, the largest influx currently is from China, with India being the second largest. Immigration from China and India has continued to increase throughout 2014 and 2015 to date.
Employment as a Contributing Factor
The reason for the decline in immigration from Latin America is composed of several elements. However, it could be fairly argued that the availability of low-wage employment was a strong motivating factor. The Great Recession has decreased the availability and promise of low-paying and attainable employment in the U.S. While this decline would deter individuals hoping to obtain unskilled or labor positions in the U.S., it would not affect individuals who immigrate to the United States pursuing higher or graduate level education. A very significant portion of individuals immigrating from India or China do so in order to pursue studies or employment in the areas of technology or engineering.
A True “Melting Pot”
One of the most interesting positions posited in the study is the possibility that a racial majority would no longer exist in the U.S. as early as 2044. With no racial majority, the population of the U.S. would more accurately the philosophy of our nation as a “melting pot”. Many individuals immigrating to the U.S. are promising students, highly skilled workers and charismatic entrepreneurs. Should the prediction the Census study come to fruition, we will experience the benefits of a society made up of the global community’s best and brightest.