According to recent findings by the Brookings Institution, the U.S. immigrant population growth rate in 2018 was the slowest that it had been in the past decade. The net increase of immigrants in 2018 was about 200,000, which is a decline of more than 70 percent from 2017 figures. Experts attributing the drastic drop in the growth rate to changes in the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, and many see it as a bad sign for the economic health of the country. Immigrant population growth has not been so slow since 2008 when the U.S. was in the depths of an economic recession.
The most significant declines in the immigrant population in America were among Latin American and Asian people who were not U.S. citizens. In 2018, a total of about 45 million people who were not born in the U.S. lived in America. Nearly half of these individuals were U.S. citizens, another quarter were legal permanent residents, and the remaining immigrants had no legal immigration status. Another significant drop in growth appears to be among Chinese students, which has caused substantial decreases in revenues for universities.
Among the federal government policies that likely impacted these figures were the travel ban on individuals from specific countries, increased scrutiny of visa applications, and policies designed to discourage people from seeking asylum. New procedures for processing visa applications, which have caused significant backlogs in processing times, also may have contributed to the slowed growth.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released these figures as part of its annual American Community Survey, which is a small-scale census that depicts how the American population has changed year to year. Another key finding of the survey was that economic inequality has continued to increase and may be at a record high.
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