will reach a median age of 39.3 years in 2035 and then stabilize at about 39 years. The more numerous the immigrants, the more youthful the population over the projection period. With high net immigration, the median age of the population will reach 37.9 years in 2035 and then decrease to 37.4 years in 2050.27

School-Age Population

Public policies for education are perhaps the ones most obviously influenced by demography. Immigration makes a difference for the size of the school-age population, virtually all of whom do attend school—directly as young children enter as immigrants and indirectly because many immigrants are in their childbearing years. What will the next decades hold for the school-age population?

The projections for the school-age population are subject to considerable uncertainty because they depend on projections of future fertility as well as on those for the immigration of younger persons. Since the 1980s, the school-age population (aged 5 to 19 years) has been increasing steadily, to number 56.2 million in 1995. Under the medium immigration assumption, it will expand throughout the projection period, reaching 77.3 million in 2050. With low net immigration, the school-age population would expand more slowly—to 67.9 million in 2050—whereas under the high net immigration assumption, there will be 86.6 million in 2050.28

If school enrollment rates, by age group and nativity, are unchanged from 1995, we can make estimates for future school enrollments.29 The number of school-age children will expand rapidly. Under current immigration policy, the K-8 enrollment will increase to 53.7 million in 2050, compared with 36.8 million in 1995 (an increase of about 17 million). The school-age population in 2050 will be 6.4 million lower if immigration flows are cut in half and 3.9 million greater if they are increased by 50 percent.30


Under the zero net immigration assumption, the population will reach a median age of 40.6 years in 2040 and then stabilize at slightly above 40 years. With very high net immigration, the median age of the population will reach 37.3 years in 2030 and plateau at about 37 years.


If net immigration is zero, the school-age population will expand slightly—from 56.2 million in 1995 to a peak of 57.6 million in 2000—then decrease slowly, to 57.0 million in 2050. Under the very high immigration assumption, there will be 95.8 million in 2050.


The kindergarten to grade 8 (K-8) enrollment, combining public and private schools, was 36.8 million in 1995 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996b: Table 231).


In 1995, foreign-born students comprised 6 percent of the K-8 would be 2, 4, and 5 percent for the low, medium, and high net immigration age group. In 2050, the proportion foreign-born of the K-8 age group assumptions, respectively. Under each of these three assumptions, the K-8 enrollments would increase, although the proportion foreign-born of the students would decline. Comparable figures for the K-8 enrollments in 2050 are 39.8 million under the zero net immigration assumption and 66.5 million under the very high net immigration assumption.

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