The population of the United States will get older, even if the nation has high levels of immigration, suggest two reports from the U.S. Census Bureau.
One of the reports predicts that by the year 2060, around one fourth of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65. That same year, life expectancy could reach an all-time high of 85 years, the report notes.
The other study suggests that even by 2030, around 20 percent of the population will be 65 years of age or older.
Census Bureau researchers expect the growth in life expectancy over the next 40 years to be slower than it has been over the past 40 years.
Between 1970 and 2015, life expectancy rose by almost 8 years. But researchers predict it will rise only about 6 years between 2017 and 2060.
One report notes that “preventable health risks — such as smoking, obesity, and, more recently, opioid-related overdoses” could play a role in slowed gains in life expectancy.
The United States could grow from about 332 million people today to around 404 million people by 2060. By 2028, the percentage of foreign-born people will be 14.9%, the Census Bureau predicts. That would be the highest percentage of foreign-born people since 1850.
U.S. immigration policy will play an important role in population growth, notes the Census Bureau.
With high levels of immigration, defined as an increase of 50% over a 10-year period, the population could grow to 447 million people by 2060.
But with no immigration, the country could lose population after 2035.
Immigration will also determine the nation’s diversity by 2060, said William Frey of The Brookings Institution research group.
By 2045, white people will represent less than half of the population under current projections, he said.
“If immigration was stopped, then we will stay majority white until 2060 but barely at 51.1 percent,” Frey said in an email. “But the story is different for the young under age 30 population.”
Under current projections, that age group will become “minority white” in 2024. Without immigration, whites under age 30 will be in the minority by 2032, Frey said.
Starting in 2030, international migration will be the biggest cause of population growth in the country.
I’m John Russell.
Mike Schneider reported on this story for The Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
obesity – n. being overweight or fat
opioid – n. a drug (such as morphine or codeine) that is made from (or related to) opium and that is used to reduce pain or cause sleep
role – n. an activity or part performed as part of an operation or process
determine – v. to be the cause of or reason for (something)
diversity – n. the condition of being made up of different parts or groups
projection – n. an estimate of what might happen in the future based on what is happening now
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.