January 2nd, 2007 04:57 EST
U.S. Population Hits 301 Million
Washington – A steady stream of immigrants to the United States and moderate growth keep the U.S. population younger than other developed countries, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which projects population in the United States on New Year’s Day 2007 to be 301 million people.
Younger population growth keeps the economy and society vital, William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, told USINFO. “With people coming into our country from around the world, as a population overall, we have become more open to new ideas,” Frey said.
The U.S. population has been growing about 1 percent yearly since 1950, and nearly 40 percent of that growth is due to foreign-born individuals coming into the United States. (See related article.)
The U.S. Census Bureau uses the term “foreign born” to refer to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes naturalized U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or immigrants, refugees, students and illegal immigrants.
Many industrialized countries do not come close to having as many immigrants and young children of immigrants as the United States, according to Frey. As a result, with a fertility rate of just 1.1 per female in many industrialized countries, including in Japan and Europe, their populations are aging. The larger elderly segments of these societies place demands on health and social resources.
Just 12 percent of the U.S. population is over the age of 65, yet, Frey said, like all industrialized countries, the United States faces a rapidly aging population. That figure is expected to jump to 20 percent by the year 2025. Nearly 20 percent of Japan’s population is already over the age of 65.
Frey said that an aging population, especially when it includes large numbers of people over age 85, can strain a country’s economy. One trend that might slow economic problems caused by an aging population is an increasing tendency by older Americans to continue working after retirement age, either part time or in small businesses.
“Older Americans today want to stay mentally engaged,” Frey said, “particularly women who are well-educated and are likely already in the labor force by the time they turn 65.” For any number of reasons, some baby boomers, 78 million Americans born from 1946 to 1964, have to continue to work, Frey said. (See related article.)
According to the Census Bureau, in January 2007 the United States is expected to register one birth every eight seconds and one death every 11 seconds. Immigration to the United States is expected to add one person every 27 seconds. The result is an increase in the total population in the United States of one person every 15 seconds.
For more information about life in the United States, see U.S. Life and Culture.
(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
By Carolee Walker
USINFO Staff Writer