NPG Report Shows Immigration Responsible for 75% of U.S. Population Growth Since 2000

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Expert analysis finds family immigration has grown dramatically, contributing to population growth.

Immigration is now a function of our admissions policies – the more people allowed to immigrate, the more who will do so.

Following a September 28th report from Pew Research Center – which found that nearly 59 million immigrants have arrived in the U.S. since passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, Negative Population Growth (NPG) will release a newly-revised Forum paper today. The updated and expanded piece includes analysis of the latest demographic data, finding that: “Immigration, counting both new admissions and births to immigrant women, was responsible for three-fourths of the growth in [U.S.] population this century.”

In the new publication, author Jessica M. Vaughan – who serves as the Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) – draws on over two decades’ of professional experience in U.S. immigration policy and operations to analyze the demographic impact of our nation’s present system. Filled with shocking statistics, the revised NPG Forum paper "All in the Family: Preferences for Relatives Drive U.S. Immigration and Population Growth" demonstrates the true population implications of today’s family immigration admissions. Vaughan finds: “In the last three decades, family immigration has accounted for more than 60 percent of total legal immigration. In 2013, family immigration’s share of total immigration was 66 percent.”

The new paper also highlights the federal government’s recent trend of circumventing – or ignoring altogether – the existing legal limits on certain family categories. Vaughan explains: “Over the last two years, the government has approved 23% more petitions in the quota-limited family categories than can be admitted under the caps set by law.” Vaughan also notes the trend of increasing admissions in unlimited categories: “In 1986, unlimited immediate relative immigration was only about half of total family immigration; today, it is about 70 percent, and has caused the overall level of family immigration to more than double over that time.”

Echoing the findings of NPG, Vaughan adds: “Recent experience shows that immigration is no longer a phenomenon that will self-regulate according to economic cycles or unemployment rates; it is clearly a function of our admissions policies – the more people allowed to immigrate, the more who will do so, and the more who will sponsor their family members.” She finds that: “To accomplish immigration reduction that will lead to population stabilization, Congress must consider cuts and tighter regulation of the categories that are currently unlimited (Parents and Spouses) in addition to eliminating certain quota-limited family categories, as recommended by the Jordan Commission in 1995.”

NPG President Don Mann had strong praise for the new work, stating: “Vaughan expertly highlights the reality of our nation’s present immigration policies. The preference for family immigration has reached unprecedented levels, and it no longer serves the best interests of Americans.” Mann added: “NPG has long held that U.S. population growth is greatly driven by present immigration levels – and our everyday crises are also growing as a result. We must act now to slow, halt, and eventually reverse our population growth – or future generations will ultimately pay the price for our failure to act. To preserve a livable America, we must greatly reduce present immigration levels until our population reaches a much smaller, truly sustainable level.”

Vaughan’s work also addresses the significant backlog in processing present family immigration visa applications: “As of November 2014, there were 4.3 million people on the waiting list for family-based green cards to be processed at a U.S. embassy overseas.” Vaughan finds that: “The risk of destabilizing population growth, together with concerns about the effects of mass immigration on our labor markets and the fiscal costs of immigration…” call for the elimination of some of “the lowest priority family categories,” which would serve to create “the first reduction in legal immigration since the 1940s.” The paper goes on to offer various recommendations to reduce family immigration, as well as proposed cuts to other visa categories.

Vaughan concludes: “While many will claim that it is unfair to take away these applicants’ opportunity of a green card, it is arguably even more unfair to continue to offer immigration benefits to people who literally may die waiting to realize them, not to mention the fundamental unfairness of imposing continued immigration-driven population growth on the American people.”


Founded in 1972, NPG is a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to educating the American public and political leaders regarding the damaging effects of population growth. We believe that our nation is already vastly overpopulated in terms of the long-range carrying capacity of its resources and environment. NPG advocates the adoption of its "Proposed National Population Policy," with the goal of eventually stabilizing U.S. population at a sustainable level – far lower than today’s. We do not simply identify the problems – we propose solutions. For more information, visit our website at

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