About one in 10 U.S. counties grew last year because of immigration, bolstering communities amid a birth rate decline, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Citing new census figures released Thursday, the Journal reported the share of U.S. population growth attributable to immigrants hit 48% for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, up from 35% in fiscal 2011.
The rise comes as separate figures showing the general fertility rate in 2017 for women age 15-44 was 60.2 births per 1,000 women — the lowest since the government began tracking it more than 100 years ago, the Journal reported.
“We have a situation where U.S. fertility rates are really low and we’re not actively adding to the workforce through natural increase,” Aparna Mathur of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute told the Journal.
“We cannot afford to talk about immigrants as bad for the U.S. economy.”
For the last fiscal year, 298 of the nation’s 3,142 counties grew primarily because of immigration instead of a surplus of births over deaths, and from people moving around the country, according to the new Census Bureau figures.
That is up from 247 counties in 2011, the earliest data in the figures released Thursday.
These counties include parts of large metro areas as well as some of their suburban counties.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia drew on immigration for more than half of their growth last fiscal year, including Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the Journal reported.
In 44% of U.S. counties last fiscal year, the population fell from the year before, according to the new Census Bureau county population estimates.