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Can Canada save Maine’s population? See immigration trends across time with this interactive map

October 5, 2015

By Seth Koenig, BDN |

The Pew Research Center released a report this week finding that the percentage of foreign-born people in America is on pace to reach a record high over the next half century, climbing from a low point of 4.7 percent in 1970 to nearly 18 percent by 2065.
Nationwide, the percentage of the American population that is foreign-born is currently about 13 percent. In Maine, the percentage is less than 4 percent.

Over the next 50 years, Pew expects new immigrants and their descendants — representing an estimated 103 million people — to account for almost the entirety of the projected U.S. population increase, at around 88 percent of it.

In its report, Pew attributes much of the upward trajectory of America’s foreign-born population to 1965’s Immigration and Nationality Act, which reversed a decades-long decline in immigration by making what Pew described as “significant changes to U.S. immigration policy.”

Those changes involved “sweeping away a long-standing national origins quota system that favored immigrants from Europe and replacing it with one that emphasized family reunification and skilled immigrants,” Pew explained.

As is apparent in the time-lapse map above, as well as in Pew’s interactive map found here, in the decades since the 1965 immigration reform, Mexico — as well as a smattering of Asian countries — widely replaced European countries as the origin of immigrants to the U.S.

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