The U.S. Census Bureau has released new population projections based on alternative scenarios for the rate of immigration. In the high immigration scenario (a net increase from 747,000 immigrants in 2012 to 1.6 million per year in 2060) the U.S. population would reach 442.4 million by 2060 (up 127 million from today’s 315 million). According to the Census Bureau press release, this high immigration rate would also speed up the advent of today’s white majority losing its majority status by 2041. By 2060, the minority population – today at 37 percent – would comprise 58.8 percent of the population.

A second, low-immigration scenario would also assume an increasing level of immigration, but one that would reach 824,000 per year in 2060. A third scenario is based on a constant level of net international migration of 725,000 residents. This last scenario results in a total population in 2060 of 392.7 million, i.e., 50 million fewer residents than in the high scenario. There is not much difference between the low and constant immigration scenarios – about 5 million fewer residents in 2060 in with constant net immigration.

The level of immigration is slated to become the major factor in the population rise and in the changing ethnic composition of the country. The Census Bureau press release states, “International migration is projected to surpass natural increase (births minus deaths) as the principal driver of U.S. population growth by the middle of this century…” It already is the primary driver of U.S population growth if the children born here to the immigrants are added to the net international migration.

The Census Bureau did not offer a net-zero immigration scenario that has been offered previously. Net-zero immigration means arriving immigrants equal that of residents leaving the United States to live abroad.