Three demographers shed new light on California population growth

The following is an accurate summary with comments by a Texas-based psychologist with an interest in the effects of crowding on human behavior of two other articles, one by a nationally known demographer, the other by a California environmentalist with a strong interest in growth in the state. They correct my population data (gathered mainly from newspapers) in several regards, mainly the inflow and outflow of US-born immigrants to California and recent Mexican immigration. I put in bold print two conclusions these investigators reached which seem to me to have been perhaps assumptions they started with. Nevertheless, they footnoted their data and have spent much more time than I could with US Census and state demographic data. Approaching the data with the hypothesis that it is Mexican immigration that is causing traffic, water and energy crises has yielded, if not politically correct conclusions, new light on the issue. These studies leave the reader with questions: Why has Mexican immigration increased as much as the demographers estimate, despite the erection of a steel wall, vast increases of Border Patrol personnel, renaming the INS the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and passage of the North American Free Trade Alliance? Why do Mexican citizens come to California in these apparently ever larger numbers, risking repeated arrest, robbery, murder and exploitation on a scale most Californians have not idea or concern about? This question is not addressed by these demographers. It falls outside the disciplinary limit of a science notable for failing to anticipate the baby boom. California’s Population Growth 1990-2002: Virtually All From Immigration A Californians for Population Stabilization Demographic Data Report Research By Leon Bouvier, Ph.D., and Dick Schneider Summary and Comments By Diana Hull, Ph.D., President, Californians for Population Stabilization © Copyright June 2003 Summary and Comments By Diana Hull, Ph.D. Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), a non-profit corporation based in Santa Barbara, California, reports the findings of its new two-part research on the reasons for the state’s accelerating and unsustainable growth. The first study, by demographer Leon Bouvier, is based on information from the California Department of Finance; the second study, by environmental consultant Dick Schneider, combines state statistics with reports from the Census Bureau, the former INS (now the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services) and research on domestic migration. Among the findings: These studies end definitively any possible argument about the relativecontribution of immigration versus unplanned or unwanted births to California’s overpopulation problems. Total Fertility Rate for the state has reached replacement level at 2.1 and virtually all population growth in California is due to direct immigration and births to immigrants. Using official state figures alone, Dr. Bouvier concluded that immigration was responsible directly and indirectly for 98 percent of California’s increasing population, a trend that continued through 2002. Direct immigration was responsible for about 57 percent of California’s growth in the decade 1990-2000, and the rest came from births to foreign-born women. Combining state and federal sources, and independent research, Dick Schneider found that 100 percent of California’s growth was the result of immigration and immigrant births, and that migration from other states was no longer a factor in California’s present size. He found the contribution of immigration was actually larger than reported by the State of California, because the Census Bureau admitted undercounts of both legal and illegal immigrants. No matter whether single or multiple databases were used, there was only a 2 percent difference in the results of the two studies, giving the overall conclusions high reliability. Although immigration is virtually the sole cause of California’s continuing growth surge, that fact is obscured whenever “births to foreign-born women” are identified euphemistically as “natural increase” (Public Policy Institute of California, 2002) or as “births to new Californians” (Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2003). This language conveys the inaccurate impression that over 40 percent of the state’s population gains are caused by Californians having more children. The persistence with which public policy groups and media use these misleading phrases is an obstacle to the public’s understanding of the reasons for growth and thwarts the taking of appropriate remedial action. Does “births to new Californians” mean “new births to Californians” or births to new residents of California from another country or even another state? Besides confusing readers trying to grasp the cause of the state’s unmanageable size, we can wonderwhether terms like “natural increase,” when used in this context, are detached demographic descriptions, or reluctance to defy Mexico’s assertions that its citizens have a right of residence beyond their own borders. When births to immigrants are called “natural increase,” that implies that the US and Mexico have, as a practical matter, merged and bolsters the claim that the northward migration is “structural, inevitable and unstoppable.” If the “natural increase” of established Californians was, indeed, the reason for growth, then only family planning programs would likely be able to reduce those numbers. While limiting unwanted births in this state is a laudable goal, which CAPS supports, as far as California’s increasing population is concerned, it is largely irrelevant. The state has achieved replacement level fertility because both established residents andimmigrants from all other groups—Asians, Blacks, Whites, American Indians and Pacific Islanders—are all now reproducing well under replacement. Nevertheless, the births to all Californians as a component of growth would have been smaller if not for the 3.25 Total Fertility Rate of Hispanics. Continuing immigration primarily from Mexico and Central America will continue higher than average birthrates for this segment of the population for many generations to come. Despite replacement level fertility, Leon Bouvier reports that California made its largest population jump in history –13 percent in the 1990s, adding 4,208,000 people (more than the total population of Ireland). In the 2-year period from April 1, 2000, to July 1, 2002, California’s population increased by 1, 244, 385. If we continue this 1.74 percent growth each year, the state will double its size in 40 years. But the total contribution from immigration during the decade must factor in not only births to immigrants minus deaths, but domestic out-migration by both natives and the foreign-born moving to other states. Dick Schneider’s research considers these issues. In CAPS’ Study No. 2, he concludes that immigration accounts for 100 percent of California’s growth. This is partly because the native-born population only increased by 2 percent over the decade, a result of so many native-born residents leaving the state. The use of data from different branches of government brings additional credibility to the CAPS studies. State and federal agencies are not always in agreement. The US Census Bureau maintains that people are still leaving the state, while the California Department of Finance asserts that there is now a net inflow to California from other parts of the country. But Schneider points out that even if that flow has reversed and the portion of growth attributable to immigration in the future will be smaller, the amount and rate of population growth will be even higher. Mass immigration is the cause of most of California’s most pressing problems: too many people living in poverty, the shortage of schoolrooms and teachers, the closing of hospitals and the impact of overpopulation on biodiversity. For all the above reasons, California’s present and predicted future size is a wakeup call for the state and the nation. Unfortunately for politically-correct reasons, elected officials, most foundations and university-funded population programs are reluctant to encourage a halt to overpopulation if reducing immigration is even part of the solution. Thus, change in immigration policy requires the involvement of a better-informed public, and these studies were undertaken with that mission in mind. Resumes of Authors Leon F. Bouvier, Ph.D. Dr. Leon F. Bouvier received his B.S. degree, cum laude, in Sociology and History from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and his masters and doctorate in Sociology and Demography from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He taught at Georgetown University and the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Bouvier was a demographic adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Population and later to the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. In 1980 he was named research director at the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, D.C., later serving as vice president of that organization. He retired from the Population Reference Bureau in 1986 and became a Senior Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, Washington, DC. Dr. Bouvier has served as a consultant to numerous concerned environmental and population organizations such as the Sierra Club, Negative Population Growth and the Carrying Capacity Network. He is one of the founders of Floridians for a Sustainable Population. Currently, Dr. Bouvier is Visiting Professor of Sociology at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor of Demography at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Bouvier has published extensively in the field of Demography. His most recent monographs include: * How Many Americans? Population, Immigration, and the Environment (Sierra Club Books 1994), * Peaceful Invasions: Immigration and Changing America (University Press of America 1992), Fifty Million Californians (Center for Immigration Studies, 1991), *Florida in the 21st Century: The Challenge of Population Growth (Center for Immigration Studies 1993), *Immigration and Social Diversity (Walker Pub. Co. 1990), * and the college textbook, Population: Demography and Policy (St. Martin's Press 1984). He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs including ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Nightly Evening News," CNN's "The Two of Us," and NPR's "All Things Considered." Dr. Bouvier currently resides in Norfolk, VA. Dick Schneider Dick Schneider is an environmental writer, policy analyst and activist. He received his B.A. (Physiology) and M.S. (Energy and Resources) degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. His graduate work focused on the effects of acid rain and metals pollution on high altitude lakes of the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains. He helped establish the first acid rain monitoring station on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains in the late 1970s. From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Schneider was Conservation Chair of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter and led passage of an Alameda countywide open space protection initiative. Since 1995, he has chaired the Sierra Club Bay Chapter Population Committee and frequently lectures on the role of population growth in degrading natural ecosystems and eroding the quality of life. He serves on the Board of Trustees of The Head-Royce School in Oakland, California, is a director of the Bay Area Transportation and Land Use Coalition, and co-authored Toxics A to Z: A Guide to Everyday Pollution Hazards (University of California Press). Diana Hull, Ph.D. Dr. Diana Hull received her undergraduate degree from CUNY, a masters degree from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas School of Public Health. A Behavioral Scientist trained in Demography, she is a retired Clinical Associate Professor, Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Houston, Texas. She is a former member of the Sierra Club's Population Committee and the Southern California Demographic Forum. She wrote, "Hispanic Press at the Southern Borders of the United States" as the American contributor to a book on international migration published by Verlag (Switzerland). Her research on the health effects of changed environments on individuals and groups has been published in Social Science and Medicine, Psychological Review, International Journal of Psychosomatic Research and many other journals. She was a founding member of both the Media Division and the Health Division of the American Psychological Association and is a member of the University of California at Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees (emeritus). She has contributed opinion pieces on immigration-related subjects to the print media for the past decade and to the Knight Ridder News Service and appeared on numerous TV and radio programs across the country as a spokesperson for population stabilization. Dr. Hull is currently President of Californians for Population Stabilzation.