The 2020 Long-Term Budget Outlook

Changes in Projections of Fertility Since Last Year. CBO’s current projection of the total fertility rate is lower, on average, than the agency previously projected for the 2020–2030 decade and is unchanged from previous projections for 2031 to 2050. In response to the recession brought on by the pandemic, the projected rate of the economic recovery, and a lower-than-expected total fertility rate in 2019, CBO now projects that the fertility rate will be 1.7 births per woman in 2020, 1.6 births per woman in 2021, and 1.9 births per woman by 2028. In contrast, last year CBO projected the fertility rate to be slightly less than 1.9 births per woman in 2020 and to rise to 1.9 births per woman by 2022.

CBO currently projects 2.8 million fewer births over the first half of the projection period than it did last year. That projected reduction in births lowers the projected number of working-age and childbearing-age people in the second half of the projection period and lowers the projected number of births over that period. Over the second half of the projection period, CBO currently projects a total of 1.6 million fewer births and an average of 5.4 million fewer working-age people per year.

Immigration

Under current law, CBO projects that annual net immigration to the United States (a measure that accounts for all people who either enter or leave the United States in any year) rises to from 0.9 million people, on average, in the first decade of the projection period to 1.1 million people, on average, in the third decade of the period.

Projections of Immigration. CBO projects immigration rates in three categories: lawful permanent residents (LPRs), legal temporary residents (LTRs), and foreign-born people without legal status. Over the first two decades of the projection period, CBO projects net flows for each category by using a detailed modeling approach that is based on the agency’s economic projections and assessment of recent trends. In the last decade, in CBO’s projections, net immigration grows each year at a rate equal to overall population growth in the previous year (0.3 percent per year on average).

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