Sharp decline in legal and illegal immigration could be a big problem for the United States

Forbes – In 2008, the United States had over 1 million naturalizations; last year there were barely 600,000, a remarkable 40% drop. The rise of the economies of the rest of the world means those countries means their young generation do not go to the US and other places for a better life. It can also mean they attract those who left before for a brain drain from countries like the US.

The number of Mexicans annually leaving Mexico for the U.S. declined from more than 1 million in 2006 to 404,000 in 2010 — a 60% reduction. Since 2008 naturalizations have dropped by 65% from North America, 24% from Asia and 28% for Europe. In fact the only place from which naturalizations are on the rise appears to be Africa, with an 18% increase.

The US could join Europe as a rapidly aging society with low birthrates and little immigration to offset the demographics.

If current trends hold by 2050, Europe, currently 730 million people, will shrink by 75 million to 100 million and its workforce will be 25% smaller than in 2000.

By 2030 Germany will have about 53 retirees for every 100 people in its workforce; by comparison the U.S. ratio will be closer to 30. As a result, Germany will face a giant debt crisis, as social costs for the aging eat away its currently frugal and productive economy. According to the American Enterprise Institute’s Nick Eberstadt, by 2020 Germany debt service compared to GDP will rise to twice that currently suffered by Greece.

Europe, of course, is not alone in the hyper-aging phenomena. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore face a similar scenario of rapid aging, a declining workforce and gradual depopulation.

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