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Analyses of Census and immigration data between 2000 and 2013 reveal some key trends and shifts that not only suggest changes in global economies and national habits but also hints about what the United States of the future will look like.

Multi-ethnic friends taking own photographTo start, for the first time ever, China was the source of more U.S. immigrants than any other country (147,000). In previous analyses, Mexico has consistently come out on top, but Mexico and India provided approximately the same number of emigrants (125,000 and 129,000, respectively)—about 20,000 fewer than came from China. The reasons for these shifts are varied, including improving economic conditions and lower birth rates in Mexico, counterposed against the continual growth of the populations of India and China.

In contrast, among immigrants currently in the United States, approximately five times as many come from Mexico than from China. The shift in new immigration numbers implies that this cultural makeup of the nation will change significantly in coming years. Furthermore, U.S. citizens of Hispanic heritage are now predominantly people born in the United States, not immigrants.

Although China, India, and Mexico thus represent the origins of the largest numbers from any single country, together these three nations still only account for approximately one-third of total U.S. immigrants. A multitude of other countries represent the starting points for many immigrants, suggesting the vast diversity that lies ahead. The current millennial cohort is already the most diverse group in U.S. history. According to some predictions, by 2044, there will be no single racial or cultural majority in the United States. Instead, various ethnicities and cultural origins will be approximately equally represented in a true melting pot of a nation.

Discussion Question:

What implications do such immigration trends have for companies targeting U.S. markets?

SOURCE: Neil Shah, “China Passes Mexico as the Top Source of New U.S. Immigrants,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2015, http://wsj.com