U.S. Population Growth Slows to Lowest Rate Since 1937

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The United States is barely growing in terms of population, falling to its lowest growth rate since the Great Depression.


In 2013, the nation expanded by less than a percentage point (0.72%), according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau.


That translated into a population increase of less than three million people nationwide, from 313,873,685 in 2012 to 316,128,839 this year.


The tepid growth was the lowest since 1937, with even slower expansion still to come.


“The census projections to 2060 have us going down to half a percent because we’re an older population, and aging populations don’t grow so much,” William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, told The New York Times.


He added that a slow-growing population could cause a drag on economic growth.


“If we have very sharp declines in growth, that takes a bite out of the economy,” Frey said.


Regionally, the South and the West experienced the strongest population increases, but even there the rates were just under 1%. Things were worse in the Midwest and the Northwest, which saw less than half a percent of growth.


The largest numerical increases in populations took place in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Washington.


Percentage-wise, the biggest gainer was North Dakota, where a thriving oil and gas industry helped boost the population by 3.14%. It was followed by the District of Columbia (2.06%), Utah (1.61%) Colorado (1.52%) and Texas (1.49%).


Behind these statistics is, of course, the frequency of births and deaths, which fuels the rate of population growth. In that regard, the Census Bureau offered a projection: this month in the U.S. there will be one birth every eight seconds and one death every 12 seconds.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

U.S. Population Up Just 0.7%, Census Finds (by Tamar Lewin, New York Times)

Historical National Population Estimates (U.S. Census Bureau)

U.S. Population Growth Rate Drops to Lowest Level Since World War II (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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