By Cherri Gregg

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Recent Census Bureau projections show that immigration rates are up in the Unites States, while the number of births have declined.

“The report shows that within the next 30 years, immigration will become the biggest driver of US population growth,” says Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.

She says, the natural increase when the number of birth outpaces the number of deaths has been the main driver of population growth for nearly 200 years.

But that could change as early as 2027 and no later than 2038.

Bergson-Shilcock also says it’s already happened in Pennsylvania.

“We’re one of the oldest states population-wise and because of that we have the 8th lowest birthrate in the nation,” says Bergson-Shilcock. “So immigration has actually been a major part of Pennsylvania’s population growth for a long time.”

She says, the rise in immigration rates has already been evident and one recent example is the influx of minority voters in the 2012 national election.

“The United States has been progressively becoming more racially and ethnically diverse ever since the 1965 change in immigration law,” says Bergson-Shilcock. “And we anticipate that we will continue to see that change.”

Minorities could become the majority in the US as early as 2041, but it could take much longer in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania was such an overwhelmingly white state to begin with,” she says. “There is a significant African-American population here, but statistically it isn’t as high a percentage. So it will take while to see that type of change.”

There are a couple caveats to the Census projections.

First, there are aspects of immigration reform that could pump the breaks on immigration rates.

Second- birth rates could pick up as the economy improves.

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