Population diversity as a crucial source of long-term prosperity in the US

Report Author: 
VOX, Centre for Economic Policy Research
Original Date of Publication: 
2017 Nov

Despite the fear and misunderstanding surrounding the issue of immigration, little research has explored the long-term economic impact of immigration--especially in places that have historically experienced high immigration levels. "Population diversity as a crucial source for long-term prosperity in the U.S." examines whether a more diverse population encourages or hinders economic growth compared to a more homogeneous population. Relying on birthplace data at the county level, the study analyzes U.S. Census population samples in 1880, 1900 and 1910 to determine the number of groups of different origin ("fractionalism") and compares the data against their 2010 equivalent among the 48 continental states. The results suggest that counties with large numbers of immigrant groups of different origin who are able to communicate with one another (low "polarization") had short- and long-term economic gains at a markedly higher level than counties that experienced low immigration levels. The study asserts that counties with higher levels of immigration were able to benefit from the perspectives and skill-sets of migrants, which brought about greater economic growth. The authors warn that wealthy countries that limit migration to protect cultural homogeneity will forego these immediate and long-term economic benefits from greater diversity. However, dialogue and integration are necessary to realize these benefits. (Jonathan Eizyk for the Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

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Citation: 

Rodriguez-Pose, A., & von Berlepsch, V. (2017). Population diversity as a crucial source of long-term prosperity in the US. London, United Kingdom: VOX, Centre for Economic Policy Research,. Retrieved from https://voxeu.org/article/population-diversity-and-long-term-prosperity

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