Controlling immigration was one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s primary arguments during the 2016 election, with him campaigning to limit entries into the U.S. and proposing building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The political debate continues to rage today: Funding for Trump’s proposed $5-billion border wall remains a matter of contention between lawmakers.
According to the United Nations, nearly 50 million people in the U.S. are foreign born, which accounts for about 15 percent of the total population. That percentage lies in between Canada and the U.K., where immigrants represent 22 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
In 1970, foreign-born individuals made up less than 5 percent of the American population.
It’s an incredibly complicated topic, one that touches on many public debates, and there’s significant political disagreement about to what extent immigration affects a nation’s economy — positively or negatively.
Still, some studies have concluded that there’s a net economic benefit when new immigrants come to a country. Although an increase in labor supply may depress some wages initially, immigrants are often filling roles that nations — such as the U.S. — need to succeed.
A report from the International Monetary Fund found a “1 percentage point increase in the share of migrants in the adult population increases GDP per person in advanced economies by up to 2 percent in the longer term.”
To learn more about the different ways immigration impacts an economy, check out the video above.