Recently, the center’s Julie Axelrod asked the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee on Natural Resources to assess the impact of immigration on the environment. I strongly support this appeal. In the Netherlands, where I am an emeritus professor of economics, this debate is even more relevant.
The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, and all of its population growth is due to immigration, as the country’s birth rate has declined significantly. High density has created a “war for land,” a competition between competing uses such as residential and commercial construction, agriculture, nature, and recreation. The issue has been neglected for decades, but political disagreements have now created an alarming impasse.
In my new book The political economy of immigration in the Netherlands: population, land and welfare.I believe that while immigration does not increase average income levels or income growth, increases in population density have negative “external effects”, i.e., the effects of population growth that are not reflected in incomes, such as congestion, damage to human health, and the environment. argue that it reduces welfare due to its impact on Damage to the ecosystem. This is true throughout a small, densely populated country like the Netherlands, but it certainly applies at the state and local level in the United States as well.
See also: How immigration affects public budgets. Welfare states without borders: The impact of immigration for public finances.