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January 2013, Volume 20, Number 1

Foreign-Born, Education, Health

The US, which had 314 million residents at the end of 2012, is projected to become a nation of 420 million without a single racial or ethnic group being a majority of residents by 2043. Changing demographics show up first among the young. Before 2020, half of US children will be members of a minority.

Census projections released in December 2012 expect rising net international migration, from about 800,000 a year in 2015 to 1.1 million a year in the 2030s and 1.2 million a year in the 2040s. ( After 2030, rising net international migration and declining natural increase mean that immigration will directly contribute more than half to US population growth, which will slow to about two million a year.

The non-Hispanic white population is expected to remain at about 200 million through 2025 and then decline to less than 180 million by 2060. The number of Blacks is expected to rise from about 40 million today to 55 million by 2060. The number of Hispanics is expected to more than double, from less than 53 million today to almost 130 million in 2060. The number of Asians is expected to double from about 16 million to 33 million in 2060.

There were 63 births per 1,000 US women between 15 and 44 in 2011, down from a peak 123 births in 1957.

Almost four percent of Americans moved from one county to another in 2011, up from 3.5 percent in 2010. After peaking at over seven percent in 1950, the rate of inter-county movement stayed above six percent a year from the 1950s to the 1980s. Today?s four percent inter-county mobility rate is higher than the rate in southern Europe, but similar to internal migration rates in the UK.

Foreign-Born. The US had 40 million foreign-born residents in 2010, making immigrants almost 13 percent of the 304 million US residents. Between 2000 and 2010, the foreign-born rose by nine million, from 31 million to 40 million, while the number of US-born residents rose by 20 million, from 250 million to 270 million. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of foreign-born US residents doubled.

Mexico is the leading country of origin of foreign-born US residents, as 30 percent or 12 million immigrants were born in Mexico, followed by 11 million born in Asia and seven million born in Central America and the Caribbean. After Mexico, the leading countries of origin were China, 2.2 million; India and the Philippines, 1.8 million each; Vietnam and El Salvador, 1.2 million each; and Cuba and Korea, 1.1 million each. These eight countries, each accounting for over a million foreign-born US residents, were the source of over half of US immigrants.

Education. A third of Americans aged 25 to 29 had at least a bachelor's degree in 2012, and 90 percent had completed high school; almost two-thirds completed some college. Analysts say that the demand for college graduates has been rising by three percent of a year, while the supply has been increasing by one percent a year, explaining the rising wages of college graduates to other workers.

The Institute of International Education reported 765,000 foreign students at US universities in 2012, including 195,000 from China. The next leading source countries were India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey. USC had the most foreign students, about 9,300.

Health. Most provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are effective January 1, 2014. The Obama administration in November 2012 laid out 10 broad categories of essential health benefits that must be included in each state's health care plans. Insurers may not refuse coverage or charge higher premiums to people because they are sick or have been ill, may not charge women more than men, and may not charge more for older than younger working-age residents.

The cost of individual coverage in employer-sponsored health plans averaged $5,600 in 2012, and was $16,000 for family coverage.

Essential health-care benefits will vary from state to state. Most states are defining essential benefits to be those provided by the largest health plan in the state's small-group insurance market. Under the ACA, employees who participate in wellness programs intended to help them lower blood pressure, lose weight or reduce cholesterol levels could be rewarded with payments of up to 30 percent of the cost of health insurance, up from 20 percent.

Larry Gordon and Cindy Chang, "Grant to aid UC Berkeley's undocumented," Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2012.