At one point in time it seemed that population projections and demographic statistics about the make-up of America in the middle of the twenty-first century was a light year away. The shift has become apparent to all, as the prescient news of the day informs us all too well. When a nation buds up against another nation of economic disadvantage, there will be acrimony. Everyone on earth seems to opine on the consequences of building or not building a wall on our southern border. Historically speaking, walls are nothing new, and have always been constructed for the sole purpose of military protection. In the case of the Great Wall of China, the initial construction began in the 7th century BC, but took on a rebuild during the Ming dynasty in the 14th century to protect itself primarily from the Mongolians. In addition, it conveniently kept the Chinese people themselves from leaving. However, future demographics are pointed in another geographical direction that will more so determine how our economy will evolve by the 2050; Asia.
The wall is a distraction of sorts as it directs one’s attention from the true economic consequences. You would not guess from the present rancor that more people have immigrated to the US from Asia than from Latin America in every year since 2010. Or that, over the same period, two of the four countries with the largest net immigration to the US were China and India. Perhaps you might if you ventured onto any number of elite college campuses, where Asians are now comprising upwards of almost a third of the student body. The lack of attention is quite simple, in that this primarily educated demographic does not need the help or hysteria of the politico of the left. Forty-nine percent of Asian Americans aged 25 years and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is higher than the U.S. population (28%). This is troublesome for a certain faction of America, in that the need to provide free education et al is not necessary for this Asian group, hence the lack of mainstream media attention.
Income statistics demonstrate as well the rising financial tide of Asian Americans. The household median income for Asian Americans is $74,829, 39% greater than the national median income of $53,657. Indian Americans have a higher household income than any other Asian American subgroup, with a median household income of $101,591. Other macroeconomic indicators show strength in the Asian American population as well. Asian Americans have the lowest unemployment rate across any household of color, with only 3.0% of the population unemployed. This low unemployment rate is partially due to Asian Americans’ having higher educational levels on average than other worker groups. The U.S. has had an opaque line in the sand regarding overall immigration numbers. The historical record suggests that Americans will bear a foreign-born population of up to 15 percent, but no higher, whatever its ethnic make-up.
We are nearing this mark for the first time in almost a century. As the demographic tide changes in America, so will its economy. Consumption is two-thirds of GDP, and the Asian American and Latin American markets will be making up a greater percentage of growth. Businesses will adapt to the changing consumer demands as reflected in the demographic and sub-demographic groups. Just as predicted decades ago, America has aged as a result of its baby-boomer population, and retirement lead to migration south to Florida and the Carolinas, and west to Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and others. That certainly has happened, and businesses have profited through this migration via developments like Sun City and The Villages in Florida. One would expect to see this happen as well, but this time it will be an ethnic demographic instead of an aging one bringing new and different changes to our economy.