US Population Growth at Slowest Rate Since 1930s

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A declining birthrate and leveling immigration over the past decade shows the United States entering an era of markedly lower population growth. In fact, it’s the second slowest rate since record-keeping began in 1790, Census shows.

US Population Growth Is Slowing Substantially, Census Finds

The population in the United States grew at the second-slowest rate over the past decade since government record-keeping began in 1790, according to the latest figures released by the Census Bureau on Monday. The numbers identify a slowing trend of US population growth that demographers attribute to a declining birthrate and the leveling off of immigration, the New York Times reported.

According to the numbers of the latest decennial numbers, the US Census Bureau counted 331,449,281 Americans as of April 1, 2020. The numbers represent a population increase of 7.4 percent over 2010. The increase is only slightly above when the US grew by 7.3 percent in 1930.

While US population growth slowed in the 1930s, as the economy improved and America rose out of the Great Depression, the birth rate in the US climbed along with it. But in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, the US population started to decline and has been dropping ever since.

The Problem of Slowing Population Numbers

A 2019 study by demographers from the United Nations said the global population will peak by 2100. However, a newer 2020 study published in the journal The Lancet contrasted the UN findings, predicting that the global population will peak by 2064, and at least 23 countries we’ll see their populations decrease to less than half of their current levels.

Why a Decreasing Population May Not Be a Good Thing

There’s been a lot of talk about how slowing the population growth could be a good thing by reducing the consumption of vital resources and helping the environment in the process. However, according to demographers, it’s the type of population reduction that matters.

The problem the United States is facing is the same as other developed countries in Europe and East Asia: Rapidly aging populations that are considerably larger than the younger population. The US now has more Americans who are 80 years old and above than those who are two years old or younger.

The immediate problem of having a mostly older population means fewer workers, including fewer people to care for the elderly. This creates a domino effect of fewer people paying taxes, fewer people paying into healthcare to support the elderly, as well as fewer people to procreate and sustain the population. The anticipated result of such a scenario is a decline in economic growth.

Changes in State Populations Alter Political Map and Federal Funding

The 2020 Census also identified geographical changes in populations that will affect America’s politics and how state and local districts do their planning and receive federal funding.

The long-running trend of population gains in the West and the South has continued. And as usual, these changes will come at the expense of the Northeast and the Midwest. In Congress, Texas will gain two seats in the House of Representatives and Florida will add one, while at the same time, New York and Ohio will lose a seat. Surprisingly, there is an exception in the West. For the first time in history, California lost a seat in the House.

In addition to the census data being used to reallocate seats in Congress, it will also apportion anew the Electoral College based on the new state population counts. Further, the census count is also a critical figure in determining billions of dollars in federal funding, as well as state and local planning for schools, housing, hospitals, and more.