By S. Karthick Ramakrishnan
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Additional resources for Democracy in Immigrant America: Changing Demographics and Political Participation
This section tests the validity of such claims of immigrant exceptionalism by conducting a deep and systematic examination of the effects of factors such as age, education, and income across racial groups, national origins, and immigrant generations. Age Several studies have shown that age has a significant and positive relationship to the likelihood of voting.
By the middle of the century, the foreign-born population had dwindled to less than 6 percent of the total population. S. 4 — — — — source: Campbell J. Gibson and Emily Lennon, “Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 1850–1990,” Population Division Working Paper No. S. Census Bureau, 1999); and Current Population Survey (November 2000). S. resident population. Furthermore, evidence from population projections indicates that the number of first-generation immigrants will continue to rise in the next two decades, reaching over 12 percent (or 41 million) by 2020 (Passel and Van Hook 2000).
Thus, while the growth of second-generation immigrants outpaced the inflow of the foreignborn in the early 1900s, the same is not true today. Another reason for the recent parity of the two populations is that the children of many first-generation immigrants have yet to be born. Nearly a third of foreign-born women in the United States are under the age of thirty, so there will be a substantial lag between the rise of the first generation and the growth of the immigrant second generation. Finally, the foreign-born population in the early 1920s had much higher levels of fertility than immigrants do today, leading to a greater equalization in the relative size of the first- and second-generation populations.