From Managing Decline to Building the Future

From Managing Decline to Building the Future

Could a Heartland Visa Help Struggling Regions?

EIG, 2019

Editorial Rating



In the United States, population growth is at its lowest level since the time of the Great Depression in the mid-1930s. The declines today are geographically unbalanced, largely affecting the Northeast and Midwest, and they threaten the country’s economic health, according to economists Adam Ozimek, Kenan Fikri and John Lettieri. In this thorough and timely analysis, they examine the dynamics of demography and economics, and propose that government and business leaders consider a “place-based visa” plan that could help resolve immigration and labor force issues.


Declining US population growth has enormous implications for the economy. In 2018, America welcomed some 900,000 fewer people – by birth and immigration combined – than it did in 2008. Over that time period, growth in the core working-age segment – those individuals between the ages of 25 and 54 – decreased and plateaued, while the aging cohort swelled. Most troubling is that, in 86% of US counties, population growth levels have fallen below that of the nation.

These demographic trends translate into significant economic declines in four crucial and interrelated areas...

About the Authors

Adam Ozimek is a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. John Lettieri is the president and CEO of the Economic Innovation Group, where Kenan Fikri is the research director.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same authors

America’s Advanced Industries
The Regulation and Value of Prediction Markets
Good Economics for Hard Times
Not Working
The Great Demographic Reversal
Global Inequality
The Riches of This Land
The Third Pillar

Related Channels