The Midwest's impossible stance: Stagnant, yet conflicted on immigration

The stagnating Second City is an unfortunate bellwether for a demographically sagging Midwest, home to a declining, graying native-born population. But Chicago's bold ambition to prop up its population by becoming "the most immigrant-friendly city in the world" also offers a pathway to revitalize metros across the region.

The last 15 years have been demographically unkind to the Midwest, continuing a decades-long trend of the region growing at half the rate of the rest of the country. Aggravating that decline, the number of native-born metro residents ages 35 to 44—prime working-age population—fell by 1.4 million, or nearly 25 percent, between 2000 and 2015, according to new Midwest metro analysis by our organization, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. (These views are the authors' own.)

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