Without immigration the USA’s natural birth rate is about 1.5 children per mother. This means that without immigration the US population would actually be in decline.
To maintain population levels the ideal number is about 2.1, which is what the US official statistics show.
How do they perform this magic trick? Armies of clones? Robots with synthetic skin? Lizard people in human suits ?
No (except maybe for that last one – it seems the most logical explanation for US politicians).
The US controls how many people can enter the country legally through various mechanisms such as strict quotas and things like the green card lottery (the number of “winners” changes every year).
Of course the USA is becoming a lot more hostile to immigration, and as a result it is no longer attractive to a lot of people. For the first time in a long time net migration across the US-Mexican border has been negative, by which I mean that more people are leaving the USA to go live in Mexico than are leaving Mexico to go live in the USA.
The reasons here are complex. Mexico has been experiencing an economic boom, the US has been in an economic slump, and the US government has been doing some pretty horrific things to people (especially kids) trying to immigrate to the USA.
What does this mean for the USA? Well the reality that the USA is going to have to face if it continues down this path is that population decline really, really sucks. It brings with it a mass of problems.
Of course the US situation is a bit different from the situation in parts Europe and Japan which are experiencing population decline. One of the big factors in these countries is that medical care is so good that old people are dying much, much later.
In the USA medical care sucks horribly for most people, and they simply can’t afford life-extending treatments unless they’re extremely rich, so old people will die much younger. This will create a different dynamic in the USA, but will also accelerate population decline, so the results will become apparent much more quickly.
The bottom line here is that the USA needs active and continual immigration to survive – without immigration the US’s population will shrink rapidly in a way that is unprecedented, creating economic problems like the USA has never seen before.
Basically there are three main ways to lawfully move to the USA:
- Diversity Visa lottery (a.k.a. Green card lottery). There are millions of applicants every year and only 60000 winners. So you need to be rather lucky to succeed this way. I myself have been applying together with my wife for the last 8 years and still no luck.
- H1B Visa. This works if you can find an employer in the US, who agrees to go through all the bureaucratic hassle to declare that he would prefer to hire you instead of any US resident. Plus it can be a rather lengthy process and many employers simply don’t bother with it, because when they need an employee, they usually need them as soon as possible, not in a year or two. And there’s one more drawbacks – this Visa allows you to stay in the US only as long as you work for this particular employer. So if you decide to move forward with your carreer, you’ll have to go through all the hassle again.
- Investment. If you declare (and back it up with the proper bank statements etc.) that you intend to start a business in the USA, investing a minimum of (not completely certain of the amount, never bothered to actually remember it, since it’s out of my reach anyway) $500000, creating a minimum of two jobs, you can get an investor visa.
- Didn’t mention above, since I haven’t actually considered it as an option, but marrying an US citizen is also a way.
Why do some people want to emigrate from Europe to United States?
Many countries in Eastern Europe willing to eke out a living in US because of the poor economy in thier country. I remember vividly during my immigrant Visa interview at America Embassy in Paris, France on that faithful afternoon we’re 166 people who are there for immigrant Visa out of 166 I’m the only Africa the rest are European (majority are French and Portuguese). I was so surprised to see a lot of French people who are willing to migrate to US. I was able to speak French as my second language,I asked two of those people I spoke to why do you want to migrate to US ? they reply and said more opportunities in US than France. This happened in 2015. However, America is a capitalist country which open doors for more opportunities to excel if you want to. Unlike European countries they’re conservative countries with lesser opportunities. I lived in Europe for almost 15 years traveled almost 20 countries in Europe, before I moved to US. My experience in Africa as my origin and Europe experience made me to believed that,America is the greatest country in this world!. Everyone want to enjoy the freedom of life and pursue liberty.
Why is it so hard for Europeans to emigrate to the USA?
Most Europeans have guaranteed national health care. Americans may or may not have health care; it all depends on their age, their income, their employment status…and now that Republicans control both Congress and (all too soon) the presidency, our feeble attempt at universal health care, known as Obamacare, may soon be repealed.
Most Europeans have four to six paid vacation weeks per year, not including national or religious holidays. Americans have paid vacations only if they’re civil servants, are covered by union contracts, or if they’ve put in at least a year with an employer who’s unusually nice.
Other benefits include generous unemployment and disability income, paid apprenticeships, paid parental leave, and quality day care which is either free or low-cost. Europeans expect these as a matter of course; Americans do not.
For many Europeans, education is free from kindergarten through university. In those schools, their children learn that evolution and human-caused climate change are real; books do not exist to be banned; and sex education is taught matter-of-factly.
If Europeans settle in America, they have to unlearn the metric system. Actually, that applies not only to Europeans but to almost every nation on earth. Even Canada is now metric.
Europeans go out in public day after day without fearing that some madman with a gun will burst into their schools, churches, stores or workplaces and kill them. Yes, they’ve experienced terrorism, but a single terrorist attack doesn’t kill nearly as many Europeans as Americans who die from gun violence every year.
If he doesn’t settle in one of America’s few cities with decent public transportation, an immigrant has to buy a car and insurance, expenses that many Europeans never need to face.
In fact, unless a European marries an American who insists that they live in America, I don’t understand why Europeans would ever move here.
That it can be quite hard to get an US green card surely is one of them. But the US immigration laws are the same for everyone. And compared to India, getting a visa is much more easy for Europeans. Since the run towards visas is not as high, European countries don’t reach the country gap for visas, which makes waiting periods much shorter.
There once was a time, when the immigration laws were in favour of (some) European countries, but the US changed that. So, immigration from those countries is not as encouraged as it was in the past, but Europeans are not discriminated against in the immigration process.
In my opinion, European immigration into the US is so low, because many Europeans don’t want to go there (might depend on the part of Europe, you are looking at, but Western Europeans don’t have many reasons to emigrate to the US, it might look differently in the more Eastern parts). I, for once, see no reason at all to leave my family (and friends) behind. I have plenty of opportunities where I live. I would assume, many Europeans feel the same.
Emigration is a trade of. You do it, because you think, that your life will be much better in another country. If you already have a good life, this incentive is not there. So you really have to be an extremely big fan of the US, or want to make your luck with a start up in Silicon Valley to have the desire to emigrate there.
What shocked you most when moving to Europe from the USA?
I moved to the UK at the end of 2000 and spent nearly 3 years there. I was shocked at the smallness of everything. The roads are narrow, the cars are tiny, the homes are tiny and it is common to buy only part of a house. Where I grew up, if housing was multi-unit, it was a thing to rent (or “let” in the UK), not buy. I understand in some US cities you can also purchase a small part of the building, but seeing this so widespread blew my mind. The home we rented was called semi-detached, meaning it was what Americans would call a duplex. Our half was 500 square feet across two floors. There was nothing detached about it.
There are no clothes closets in these tiny homes; you have to get a piece of furniture called a wardrobe, which still holds very little. Appliances are also very small. Our baking sheets did not fit in the oven at our UK home; we had to buy new smaller ones. There was no dishwasher in the kitchen; the clothes washing machine was there. It only handled very small loads and took a very long time, but not nearly as long as the clothes dryer under the stairs. That was 2 hours minimum; sometimes 4 hours for blue jeans.
I was also shocked at the level of taxes and the number of regulations. Such silly things as no window screens because there had at one point been a tax on them, or the three wheeled car had been invented to save on a wheel tax. There was road tax, TV tax, and more! Then VAT on top of all the other things; petrol sold in litres, etc.
It was beautiful and I enjoyed seeing the historical sights very much, but I would never want to live in such a cramped, tiny expensive place long term.
Initially, the smallness of appliances was a “shock” and I later became aware they were a response to formerly high energy costs. Refrigerators etc. stayed small because city living required people adapt to apartment life rather than large homes in the suburbs. Now New Yorkers are importing European small appliances for their small homes.
Its still a “shock” when I return to the US and see how much people eat out at fast food places. Most Europeans eat at home and prepare their meals rather than buy convenience foods. They also shop more often and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. There are fewer food “trends” like fat free and gluten free yet people are of normal weight and in general very healthy.
One thing that still “shocks” me is how Europeans will save money rather than spend. They stay in the same house or apartment their whole lives and pay off their mortgage rather than upsize or spend the equity. They prefer to buy quality clothing over quantity and are perfectly satisfied with wearing the same scarf over and over again.
Europeans also continue to “shock” me in their use their savings to help their children attend University away from home or overseas and they save for this eventuality. Middle Class Europeans also save for their children’s future and often buy them their first apartment. Americans used to save for their child’s education but now most of them let their children shoulder this burden in the form of student loans that can last over 30 years.