American exceptionalism (for the developed world)

Ron Unz notes in his epic piece,  China’s Rise, America’s Fall, that America stands in stark contrast to much of the developed world where populations are stable or growing at a rate much lower than 1 percent per year:

Ironically enough, there is actually one major category in which American expansion still easily tops that of China, both today and for the indefinite future: population growth. The rate of America’s demographic increase passed that of China over 20 years ago and has been greater every year since, sometimes by as much as a factor of two. According to standard projections, China’s population in 2050 will be almost exactly what it was in 2000, with the country having achieved the population stability typical of advanced, prosperous societies. But during that same half-century, the number of America’s inhabitants will have grown by almost 50 percent, a rate totally unprecedented in the developed world and actually greater than that found in numerous Third World countries such as Colombia, Algeria, Thailand, Mexico, or Indonesia.

However, as Unz continues, this growth is not necessarily something to be excited about:

A combination of very rapid population growth and doubtful prospects for equally rapid economic growth does not bode well for the likely quality of the 2050 American Dream.

There was a crossroads in the last century when America could have chosen to remain on a low growth/high income path and become more like Canada or Japan.

Instead, America chose high growth route and greatly accelerated immigration, not just illegal, but also legal.

Not surprisingly, real per capita income has barely budged for the masses, while quality of life has gone down in many respects. Income inequality has soared, but few people dare to link this to immigration–which is the primary source of American population growth.


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