Rutgers report finds Northeast needs immigrants to grow economy, prevent demographic stagnation
A new Rutgers report details how a slowdown in immigration, lower birthrates and a large amount of people moving from the Northeast to more affordable locations may threaten the economic future of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan region, according to an article on Rutgers Today. The report, Rutgers Regional Report, was compiled by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation.
“It may be an exaggeration to call this a stampede, but the Northeast has been experiencing an unrelenting outflow of people to the rest of the country,” said the authors in the report, according to the article.
The population of the 35-county metropolitan region, including large portions of New York and New Jersey, remained stable until 2016 despite the overall population of the country experiencing the lowest growth rates since the Great Depression, according to the article.
It was found that this area was afflicted by demographic stagnation and the beginning of population declined from 2016 to 2018, according to the article.
“There is a dramatic shift in population to the South and West away from the Northeastern states and there is no indication in this 35-county metropolitan region that this is going to stop,” said James W. Hughes, University professor, according to the article.
With New Jersey residents moving out of the area and not enough people moving back in, much of this population loss can be attributed to the state, according to the article. Ocean County was the only county in New Jersey that actually faced an increase in population due to people moving into the area.
The biggest increase in population growth came from Middlesex, Bergen and Hudson counties, according to the article. They also had the highest number of new immigrants in New Jersey.
Suburban counties distancing the most from Manhattan, such as Sussex and Hunterdon counties, had the lowest number of immigrant residents, according to the article.
“Since the fertility rate is at a historic low, there is even more pressure to bring in more immigrants to the region,” Hughes said, according to the article. “At this time, we are looking at a perfect demographic storm. Immigration is something we have to cherish.”
Hughes said that because many people did not relocate during the Great Recession, there was a demographic shift as a result, according to the article. Following this period, people made greater moves due to the large economic expansion.
“It is very expensive to live in this region as far as housing costs and property taxes,” Hughes said, according to the article. “Particularly when it comes to (b)aby (b)oomers, when it’s time to retire, they have been looking to move where it is not as costly to live.”
The domestic outmigration affecting both the Northeast and other parts of the country is being avoided because immigrants are still moving into the country, despite national policy trying to limit immigration, according to the article.
The report details that from 2010 to 2018, 935,085 immigrants from outside of the country replaced the 1.4 million people that had left this metropolitan area, according to the article.
Hughes said the region cannot lose its international immigrant population and must remain an attractive location in order to stay economically competitive, according to the article.
“I think there are a lot of small business owners throughout the country who understand that we need more immigrants even if some citizens seem to be oblivious to this fact,” Hughes said, according to the article. “Immigrants are such a crucial part of our workforce, especially when our population is declining.”
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