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New poll finds Americans still want far less Population Growth 40 years after government commission called for stabilization

DALLAS (April 20, 2012) – Forty years after a multi-year bi-partisan government commission recommended slowing U.S. population growth and eventually stabilizing, Americans still would like to see it happen, according to poll results to be released this weekend at the 2012 Earth Day Dallas festival.

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“On the 40th anniversary of that landmark event in the early environmental movement, we wanted to know if Americans today share that commission’s conclusion that massive U.S. population growth is harmful to the environment and unwanted by the citizenry,” said Roy Beck, President of the NumbersUSA Education & Research Foundation which commissioned the national poll by Dallas-based Pulse Opinion Research.

The new poll found that Americans aren’t happy that the population has never stopped expanding (from just over 200 million in 1970 to more than 300 million); 52% say the extra 100 million has damaged the environment, contrasted to 6% who say it brought improvement.
  • The new poll found only 10% of U.S. voters approve the current rate of growth that the Census Bureau states will double U.S. population from 313 million today to over 600 million by the end of the century.
  • Given two other options, 35% of Americans chose cutting the rate of growth in half, and 46% said they would prefer no more population growth at all.
  • Of the nearly half of Americans who want no more population growth, one of four said they would like to see the population slowly become smaller to the 250 million size of 1990, and one of six preferred the 200 million size of 1970.

The misgivings shown by Americans today are similar to what Americans indicated in a national poll by “The Commission on Population Growth and the American Future,” which was created just before the first Earth Day (1970) and issued its final report in spring of 1972. Leaders from labor, business, civil rights and environmental activists, religion and academe contributed to the report.

  • The 1972 poll found 57% of Americans believed U.S. population growth was environmentally harmful.
  • 66% disapproved of adding another 100 million people.
  • 56% said government should try to do something to slow down population growth.
  • 57% said people should limit the size of their families even though they can afford a large number of children.
  • 50% said the number of immigrants should be reduced, with only 3% saying the numbers should increase.

“Census data show that our population would be stabilizing at around 250 million if the American people had controlled things, given that their average family size has been at a zero-population-growth level ever since 1972,” said Beck, who as one of the nation’s first environment-beat journalists reported on the population debates in the late 1960s and 1970s. “Successive Congresses have adopted immigration increases that only 3% of Americans wanted in 1972. They have tripled immigration numbers and created a level of population growth that two-thirds of Americans said they opposed. Despite near-silence about population issues in the public discussions of our present era, this 40th anniversary poll shows that Americans still solidly oppose their government forcing major population growth on them.”

Other findings in the new poll:

  • 68% of voters said immigration should be reduced in order to slow U.S. population growth; 19% prefer to keep immigration the same and let it double the U.S. population; 4% prefer increasing immigration so that population would more than double this century.
  • The poll informed respondents that “current levels of immigration could continue without causing population growth if Americans would cut their average family size from two children to one. Just 9% of Americans said that would be a good idea.
  • 71% said that if the population in the area where they live doubles along with the national doubling projected by the Census Bureau, the quality of life in their area would worsen.
  • The expectation of worsening from population doubling was found in the overwhelming majority of voters in every region of the country and regardless of whether people live in a large, medium or small city, a suburb, a town or rural area. It also was found at similar levels across all religious, income, age, political party and ideology groupings.
  • Hispanic voters were similar to all other voters in their opposition to high population growth and in preference for a stabilizing population size.

Take the survey now!

See the survey results.

The national telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research in April, 2012. Pulse Opinion Research, LLC is an independent public opinion research firm using automated polling methodology and procedures licensed from Rasmussen Reports, LLC. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 3% percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

NumbersUSA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It was founded in 1996 to promote the immigration/population recommendations of President Clinton’s commission on sustainability and of the bi-partisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. NumbersUSA has more than a million registered on-line members.


Earth Day Dallas Press Release

Local Power Team - Thursday, April 19, 2012

Earth Day Initial Poll Results

Local Power Team - Thursday, April 19, 2012

High Population

Local Power Team - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Roy Beck Congressional Testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee -- June 3, 2009

Congressional Testimony - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Roy Beck testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 3, 2009 regarding S.424, which would provide green cards to domestic partners.

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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the United States

Articles - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jerome Blondell, in the Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Volume 33, Number 3, Fall 2008

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The Environmental Movement's Retreat from Advocating U.S. Population Stabilization

Studies Articles - Saturday, January 1, 2000

By Roy Beck and Leon Kolankiewicz; The Journal of Policy History (Penn State University Press); Vol. 12, No. 1 (2000)

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Jordan Commission -- Executive Summary on Legal Immigration

Congressional Testimony - Friday, September 1, 1995

U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1995

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In the News

Cut immigration or be like US, visiting lobbyist warns

NumbersUSA In the News Quoted - Thursday, January 17, 2013

A LEADING United States population lobbyist has questioned why Australia seems intent on copying the worst mistakes of his own country.

Roy Beck, the executive director of powerful lobby group NumbersUSA, which has 1.4 million members, has visited the Sunshine Coast as part of an Australian visit which has included talks with politicians and advocates of lower immigration in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.

By Bill Hoffman in the Sunshine Coast Daily


Our country is totally unprepared for the future

Reviews - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In a five minute astoundingly simple yet brilliant video, “Immigration, Poverty, and Gum Balls”, Roy Beck, director of www.numbersusa.ORG, graphically illustrates the impact of overpopulation.  Take five minutes to see for yourself:
“Immigration by the numbers—off the chart” by Roy Beck
This 10 minute demonstration shows Americans the results of unending mass immigration on the quality of life and sustainability for future generations: in a word “Mind boggling!”  www.NumbersUSA.org

By Frosty Wooldridge in Freedom's Phoenix


Reports say reducing immigration crucial to restoring environment

Quoted - Friday, March 30, 2012

"The problems caused by population still make environmental news, but population is forgotten," said Roy Beck, a longtime environmental journalist who founded Numbers U.S.A., a leading group advocating immigration reforms.

But to focus only on reducing every individual's impact, while remaining silent on how many individuals are living here, strikes critics like Beck as "bewildering.

"How anyone can think it is not both - average environmental impact times the number of people...that's like one and one equals two."

By Tom Horton in The Chesapeake Bay Journal

"The problems caused by population still make environmental news, but population is forgotten," said Roy Beck, a longtime environmental journalist who founded Numbers U.S.A., a leading group advocating immigration reforms.

But to focus only on reducing every individual's impact, while remaining silent on how many individuals are living here, strikes critics like Beck as "bewildering.

"How anyone can think it is not both - average environmental impact times the number of people...that's like one and one equals two."

Beck and colleagues have analyzed Smart Growth, a key environmentalist remedy for sprawl development. Pioneered around the Chesapeake, Smart Growth uses government incentives and disincentives to pattern growth around existing towns, significantly reducing the land each new home carves out of farms and wildlife habitat.

It hasn't worked well, and one reason, Beck concluded in his analysis of 100 metropolitan centers nationwide, is that population growth itself drives about half of open space consumption.

 Beck called it "a great system," that if expanded could go a long way to dry up jobs for those without documentation. Right now E Verify fails to catch people who have stolen whole new identities, but Smith's bill would fix that by letting it cross-reference Social Security data.

Beck said that the "jobs Americans won't do tactic" is often just code for offering cheaper pay and fewer benefits. Other immigration experts cite coal mining and trash collection as "dirty, hard jobs," that pay decently and seldom go wanting for takers.


By Tom Horton in The Chesapeake Bay Journal

Show More http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=4325

My Turn: Population growth calls for immigration policy

Quoted - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Here in the U.S. our population problem is driven chiefly by immigration, both documented and undocumented. According to Jeremy Beck of Numbers USA, since 1990 immigration numbers have been higher than in any other period in U.S. history. Over the last two decades, immigration has averaged about 1 million people per year, or three times our historical average. U.S. population will more than double from 203 million in 1970 to 439 million in 2050 and immigration will cause 82 percent of all U.S. population growth between 2005 and 2050.

By Mark Powell -- Burlington (Vt.) Free Press


Immigration prevents environmental progress

Quoted - Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pres. Clinton’s task force understood it. The Father of Earth Day understood it. You and I understand it. Why does Congress not understand that U.S. environmental sustainability is not possible unless we greatly reduce immigration numbers?

What does sustainability mean? That the way we live today will not prevent our grandchildren from enjoying the same things we enjoy. The Golden Rule is at the heart of it.

By Roy Beck -- The Daily Caller


S.C. restrictions leave illegal immigrants’ futures uncertain

Quoted - Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for NumbersUSA, a conservative group, said the boom in South Carolina immigration is troubling for many reasons. She said it hurts the environment, adds to traffic congestion and strains the health-care system.

“Any natural resource issues will be made worse by population issues,” she said.

By Titus Ledbetter III -- Independent Mail (Anderson, S.C.)


Growth of Latino, Asian populations slows in outlying areas

NumbersUSA In the News - Saturday, May 16, 2009

Immigration control advocates hailed the slowdown, saying it would ease pressure on schools, hospitals and other public services, and open up wider job opportunities for U.S. citizens. "Any decline in immigration is good for most Americans and especially good for Hispanic Americans and black Americans," said Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, an immigration control group. "There will be less competition for jobs and less pressure on natural resources and public infrastructure."


Immigration raid leaves damaging mark on Postville, Iowa

In the News Quoted - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Since the landmark raid, an economic squeeze has destroyed several businesses. Postville's population has shrunk by nearly half, to about 1,800 residents, and townsfolk say the resulting anxiety -- felt from the deli to the schoolyard -- has been relentless.

"It's like you're in an oven and there's no place to go and there's no timer to get you out," said former Mayor Robert Penrod, who, overwhelmed, resigned earlier this year....

Roy Beck, head of the Washington-based NumbersUSA group that advocates for reducing immigration, argued that Postville invited its problems by relying so heavily on a plant many suspected was violating labor and immigration laws.

"The situation should have never gotten to that point," he said. "If you don't enforce the laws steadily, then when you suddenly enforce them, there is more collateral damage....""

Antonio Olivo, LA Times, 12 May 2009


Economic crisis slows U.S. population growth

In the News - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Population does not necessarily equal economic growth anymore," says Bill Fulton, vice president for policies and programs at Smart Growth America, a coalition of environmentalists, planners and others working to slow sprawl.

He points to Las Vegas' population boom, which created low-paying jobs that disappeared when the housing market collapsed. By contrast, he says, cities such as Pittsburgh lost population but household wealth went up.

"We're still talking about adding a lot of people," Fulton says. "We know we can't environmentally sustain those people living in sprawled locations. … Local governments are not going to be able to afford sprawl anymore."

By Haya El Nasser -- USA TODAY


Brazil's economic boom drawing immigrant workers home

In the News - Tuesday, September 6, 2011

But he didn't return because he had realized the dream of many immigrants: earning enough money in the United States to start a new life at home. He gave up on California because he became convinced that booming Brazil offered much more opportunity than the crisis-ridden U.S.

And, like many others who have increasingly made the return journey, he found that reality far exceeded his expectations.

By Vincent Bevins -- Los Angeles Times


National parks feel the effects of human, environmental threats

In the News - Monday, August 30, 2010

Following a pair of recent studies that exposed man-made and climate-caused deterioration at those two iconic American attractions, environmentalists are raising new concerns about the future health of all 58 U.S. national parks in a time marked by barren budgets, rising energy cravings and warming skies.

By Bill Briggs -- MSNBC.com Contributor


In immigration war, environment is a neglected casualty

In the News - Sunday, October 25, 2009

An estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants traversed Buenos Aires' 118,000 acres in 2007, leaving tons of trash, rusting abandoned cars, biologically hazardous waste and vehicle tracks that reduced parts of the landscape to a dusty wasteland.

That hurts just about every aspect of the refuge's mission, which was established in 1985 to try to preserve the endangered masked bobwhite quail, one of seven endangered species on the refuge.

By Stephen Dinan -- Washington Times


Our Water Supply, Down the Drain

In the News - Sunday, August 23, 2009

Droughts make matters worse, but the real problem isn't shrinking water levels. It's population growth. Since California's last major drought ended in 1992, the state's population has surged by a staggering 7 million people. Some 100,000 people move to the Atlanta area every year. Over the next four decades, the country will add 120 million people, the equivalent of one person every 11 seconds.

More people will put a huge strain on our water resources, but another problem comes in something that sounds relatively benign: renewable energy, at least in some forms, such as biofuels. Refining one gallon of ethanol requires four gallons of water. This turns out to be a drop in the bucket compared with how much water it takes to grow enough corn to refine one gallon of ethanol: as much as 2,500 gallons.

By Robert Glennon -- Washington Post


Erbe: A link between immigration and water shortages

In the News - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Water shortages, which used to be limited to the dry western states, now plague just about the entire United States. Even regions that once seemed to have limitless supplies of water are facing predictions of shortages and imposing water restrictions on residents...

Depletion of water supplies is a problem of global proportions, driven in part by climate change. But a worldwide human population boom is also driving climate change. Here in the United States, the doubling of the U.S. population during the past five decades --driven largely by massive legal and illegal immigration and the children of legal immigrants -- is putting particular strains on the water supply. Why is no one discussing the relationship between these two phenomena?

By Bonnie Ereb -- Scripps Howard News Service


Parched State Searches for Ways to Expand Water Supply

In the News - Friday, July 10, 2009

When California's budget impasse is settled, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will have to deal with the state's other big crisis: fresh water.

Gov. Schwarzenegger and other top lawmakers have already drafted plans to attack a severe water shortage in the state, which has suffered a three-year drought.

As soon as the stalemate over how to bridge California's $26.3 billion budget gap is resolved, the governor and legislative leaders plan to introduce a package of water-related measures calling for more water conservation and an estimated $10 billion bond measure to finance more fresh water storage.

By Jim Carlton -- Wall Street Journal


D.C. area a hot spot for legal immigration last year

In the News - Sunday, July 5, 2009

The D.C. area was among the most popular regions for legal immigrants in 2008, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Washington region ranked fourth among metropolitan destinations for immigrants in fiscal 2008, and Virginia and Maryland were in the top 10 in state rankings, according to DHS’s annual flow report.

By David Sherfinski -- Washington Examiner


U.S. census sparks feud over the counting of illegal immigrants

In the News - Sunday, May 31, 2009

In a high-stakes battle that could affect California's share of federal funding and political representation, immigrant activists are vowing to combat efforts by a national Latino clergy group to persuade 1 million illegal immigrants to boycott the 2010 U.S. census.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders, which says it represents 20,000 Latino churches in 34 states, recently announced that a quarter of its 4 million members were prepared to join the boycott as a way to intensify pressure for legalization and to protect themselves from government scrutiny.

By Teresa Watanabe -- Los Angeles Times


Growth of Hispanic, Asian Population Slows Unexpectedly, Census Reports

In the News - Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Deterred by immigration laws and the lackluster economy, the population growth of Hispanics and Asians in the United States has slowed unexpectedly, causing the government to push back estimates on when minorities will become the majority by as much as a decade.

Census data being released today also showed that fewer Hispanics are migrating to suburbs and newly emerging immigrant areas in the Southeast, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia. Instead, Hispanics are staying in traditional gateway locations such as California...."

Hope Yen, AP, 14 May 2009


Congressional Testimony

Roy Beck Congressional Testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee -- June 3, 2009

Congressional Testimony - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Roy Beck testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 3, 2009 regarding S.424, which would provide green cards to domestic partners.

Download Publication

Jordan Commission -- Executive Summary on Legal Immigration

Congressional Testimony - Friday, September 1, 1995

U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1995

Download Publication