Chicken Little never seems to go away—there is always someone, somewhere crying out that the sky is about to cave in. I feel like Chicken Little every day when I think about America—when I look at our unfathomable debt, the swindle that is Social Security, and the increasing depravity of the citizens. And then I realize that there is hope.
With the 2010 Census results recently released, there came a shocking prediction: by 2023, minorities—everyone except for non-Hispanic, single race whites—will account for more than half of all children, and by 2042, minorities will become the majority. By 2050, the 65 and older group will have more than doubled. The Hispanic population is expected to triple, with black and Asian people groups growing steadily as well. In 40 years’ time, the non-Hispanic, single race white population will increase only very slightly, and the total share of the population will drop from 66% of the population to 46% .
In 2050, we will be living in a very different America. Or will we? While superficial things like the color of people’s skin, or the number of Mexican restaurants on a block, or holidays and traditions might change, it will only be because the United States is continuing in a grand tradition of building a country out of international immigrants. The skin color of the 21st century immigrants has changed, but the principle remains the same.
In fact, these immigrants are our country’s only chance of survival. While the long-established American citizens are busy pursuing the “American Dream” and having 2.06 children in their lifetime—barely enough to maintain the population—immigrants, and Hispanics specifically, are having larger families. Because of this, our population of 15-to-64 year-olds between now and 2050 may grow as much as 42%. And while critics complain about overpopulation, many countries in the rest of the world will be in deep distress by 2050. According to a recent Smithsonian article, “the number of young and working-age people is expected to decline elsewhere: by 10 percent in China, 25 percent in Europe, 30 percent in South Korea and more than 40 percent in Japan .”
The U.S. population growth, at .96 %, is certainly not impressive, but compared to Europe, it is huge. At quadruple that of Denmark, triple that of Belgium, double that of Great Britain and France, and larger than Canada, the United States is one of the only great nations in the world set to grow, rather than decline. Russia and Japan are already negative in their growth rate .
So what does all this mean? It certainly does not give us reason to continue in the status quo, grateful that there will actually be someone after us to clean up our mess. The projected 458 million US citizens in 2050 should inspire all 308 million of us in 2011 to work harder, with greater vision and clarity. To give up now, with great sighs of devestation, and loud declarations of our country’s doom, is cowardly. To laugh at our debt, shake our head at elections, and wring our hands over the spiritual state of our nation is foolish. America is not dead—America is growing, thanks not to her citizens, but to her immigrants. It is up to us to ensure that America grows strong and solid in the next forty years, remaining a power to be reckoned with in the world, but more importantly, becoming once again a beacon of Christian charity, love, and freedom to the countries around us.
Photo taken by Amanito. Used with permission.
 “An Older and More Diverse Nation by Midcentury.” August 14, 2008. U.S. Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-123.html
 Kotkin, Joel. “Ready, Set, Grow.” Smithsonian, Vol. 41, No. 4: July/August 2010.
 The World Factbook 2009. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2009.