How Many People Does America Need?

We are told many positive things about the immigrants who come to the United States. They are hard-working, family oriented, take the jobs Americans won’t do, and are beneficial to the economy. Others claim that they are a detriment to the economy, bring crime and disease with them, and are coming here for the public benefits.

However, ignored in the debate over immigration today is a more fundamental question. How many people does America actually need?

Although the exact number of countries in the world today depends on a variety of political perspectives, there are at least 190 recognized countries. Of all those countries, the United States ranks third in population, behind only China and India. Yet, they tell us that we need more people.

In the 2010 Census, the United States had over 308 million people. In 2014, the estimated population increased to 318 million. That is an increase of 10 million people in just four years.

How much is ten million? Only California, Texas, New York, Illinois, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have over ten million people. That is just seven of the fifty states. In only four years, we added more people to the country than the entire population of every other state, including large populous states like New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Ten million people is like adding the entire population of Michigan or Georgia to our country.

And yet, our leaders claim we need more people.

Let’s just stick to official legal immigration – people our government decides to legally allow in our country. From 2005 to 2012, we added over one million permanent legal residents to our country each year. Notice, that does not constitute a total of one million over that time span, but rather an annual number.

How much is one million? Recently, San Jose became only the tenth city in the United States to surpass the one million mark. New York City leads the way with over 8 million people, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, and then San Jose.

Every other city in the United States has less than one million residents. Pick a major city that is closest to you – San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, Miami, Denver, Atlanta, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Saint Louis, Las Vegas, etc. All of these cities have fewer people than the number of legal immigrants entering the United States each year.

We grant legal residency to more people every year than people living in a number of states, including Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.

The sheer number of new immigrants is staggering. And, like I noted earlier, these numbers do not even include illegal immigration.

Still, they tell us, we need more people.

But, just how many more people do we need? Do we stop immigration when we reach 350 million people? Or, how about 500 million, which is half of a billion people? Let’s be honest, if we open our borders completely we could easily add 500 million people in a few years. And, considering the deplorable conditions in most of the world, I would bet that the majority of the world’s 7.2 billion people would be grateful for the opportunity to move here if we allowed them.

Politicians, and so-called experts, debate whether we need more immigrants or fewer immigrants. But those concepts are disconnected from the actual numbers. Because, the overwhelming number of legal immigrants to the United States speaks for itself.


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