Could increased immigration improve the US economy?

Forecasters see challenges in the ability of a limited U.S. population expansion to support economic growth. An influx of immigrants is one obvious answer.

closeup of new citizen handbook and a flag in the hands of a new U.S. citizen

“In relative terms compared to other countries, if we care about our relative position vis-à-vis China, for instance, immigration is going to be a critical part of maintaining that position,” says Alexander Arnon, senior analyst with the Penn Wharton Budget Model.

U.S. immigration policy is extremely important to the future of the economy over the next few decades, notes Arnon, due to the country’s aging population and relatively low native fertility. “If we hold things constant, we’re looking at a population that is roughly stabilizing after a few decades from now. If we want to continue growing, if we want to maintain our relative position in the world population, really the only way we’re going to accomplish that is if we bring in more immigrants.”

But how many more immigrants, what kinds of immigrants, and from where? And how should the U.S. structure its policies accordingly?

Among the essential findings is this: The largest positive impact on employment and GDP would come from increasing the net flow of immigrants.

Read more at Knowledge@Wharton.