American Immigration Policy, a Reappraisal

By William S. Bernard; Carolyn Zeleny et al. | Go to book overview

9
Population Trends and Our Future Population Policy

Fortunately, our study of population has reached a point where we have fairly precise information concerning population trends -- past, present, and even future -- for the United States and for the principal countries of the world. We can demonstrate statistically that the rate of population increase for the United States is slowing down so that in all probability it will reach a maximum figure in about forty years and then decline. Population totals for the United States have been predicted in advance with considerable accuracy. Thus, the statisticians missed an exact prediction of the 1940 population of 131,669,275 by only one hundred and fifty thousand. The estimate for 1990 made by the United States Bureau of the Census in the spring of 1946 is about 165,000,000. According to present American population trends this will represent the maximum figure we shall reach, after which our population will begin to decline.1

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1
This figure has been raised slightly in the estimates given in U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Forecasts of the Population of the United States, 1945-1975, ( Washington: Government Printing Office, 1947). Here the probable peak figure for 1990 is given as 165,276,000, without any allowance for immigration and on the basis of estimates of medium fertility and medium mortality rates (page 109, Table D). Although it is expected that the rise in the birth rate of the last few years will prove temporary, there is some uncertainty about the speed with which it will decline; hence forecasts of future population are taking into account the possibility of a slow decline in the birth rate. In the publication cited above, an estimate is included on the basis of high fertility, low mortality, and no net immigration which would place the total in 1975 at 178,253,000, with the caution that it is unlikely that this figure will be reached (page 95, Table VI). In the Encyclopaedia Britannica Yearbook for 1948, Dr. L. E. Truesdell

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