Immigration verus Population Control

June 20, 2000
Volume 2/ Number 12

Dear Friend and Colleague: 

With the developing countries beginning to realize the folly of zero population growth, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify family planning. Equity and benevolence are not part of the agenda of population controllers. What will the backlash be when the developing world realizes that foreign aid comes with a price tag? 

Steven W. Mosher

Immigration versus Population Control

Should We Welcome Foreign Workers or Attempt to Eliminate Them Through Family Planning? 

Attitudes towards immigrants are undergoing a seachange in the United States and Europe. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's February proposal to increase the number of high-tech visas was widely applauded, and has received Bi-partisan support in Congress. In March the United Nations Population Division issued a report, Replacement Migration: Is it a Solution to Declining and Ageing Populations? to general approbation. The AFL/CIO, which once saw immigrants as a threat to its members' livelihoods, now calls for a general amnesty for illegal aliens. Prosecutions of employers of illegal aliens are on the decline, as the shortfall of able-bodied workers becomes more acute. Communities with stagnating populations, such as Indianola, Iowa, are actively recruiting new immigrants to come to their cities.

Given the massive numbers of immigrants that will be necessary to stave off population decline and a shrinking workforce in developing countries, there is already growing concern that immigration alone will not be able to meet the growing need for workers. In a world of rapidly falling fertility rates, where the number of people will never double again, this is a real concern.

Despite our country's newfound need for immigrants, population control programs in Mexico and elsewhere--which will inevitably result in fewer immigrants coming to our shores--continue apace. Despite concerns that the pool of prospective immigrants is drying up, we continue to spend billions of dollars each year to advance that day.

This is only one of the many anomalies of population control programs, of course. Rapid population growth acts as a catalyst to spur development and raise standards of living, as a 1986 report by the National Academy of Sciences suggests, yet the population controllers continue to maintain that population growth is bad. By reducing population growth, USAID may be working at cross-purposes to its other goal of fostering real economic development.

The population controllers claim that "overpopulation" causes poverty. Yet many countries being targeted for population control are arguably underpopulated, especially in Africa. The Africa 2000 website ( has a chart showing the population density of various countries and their per capita income. The United Kingdom has 634 people per square mile and a per capita income of $19,600. Belgium has 866 people per square mile and a per capita income of $26,440. The Netherlands has 1,197 people per square mile and a per capita income of $25,940. By way of contrast, Nigeria has 346 people per square mile and a per capita income of $240. Kenya has 129 people per square mile and a per capita income of $320. Tanzania has 90 people per square mile and a per capita income of $170.

If dying Europe is dependent upon Africa and the Middle East to keep its economy alive, and if aging America is dependent upon Mexico and Asia to keep its computers humming, then it is past time to end counterproductive population control programs.

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