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When you think of farming in America, the first things that come to mind are probably picturesque golden cornfields, or dairy farmers rising at the crack of dawn to milk their cows. But, according to demographer Joel Kotkin, a new crop is on the rise in Los Angeles, and it says a lot about how America’s population is changing. The crop in question? Bok choy, a leafy cabbage popular in Asian cuisine (“of course,” Kotkin jokes, “there’s another crop that may not be quite as legal that might have higher numbers”).

The rise of crops like bok choy reflects the fact that the coming generation of Americans will likely look a lot different from those who have come before them. In fact, in the next fifty years, Kotkin predicts we will be approaching a “post-ethnic” America – with higher numbers of Asian and African immigrants, and also higher rates of inter-marriage -  making class a more distinct dividing line than race.


This influx of immigration will be America’s saving grace, according to Kotkin. While the populations of other industrialized nations like Japan are shrinking – in 2050, there will be more Japanese people over 80 than under 15– immigration will keep America’s population relatively young.  As such, Kotkin predicts that cities with high rates of immigration – like Houston - are poised to leap ahead of their competitors in a big way and join the great cities of the world. Houston and its counterparts, Kotkin says, provide a glimpse of an America that’s growing and gaining jobs.

To hear more of our conversation with Kotkin – including how immigration is benefitting the most vibrant and innovative companies in America – tune in, above.