US Population Growth Slows

The 2020 decennial census finds the population in the US grew by the second lowest amount since the count began in 1790. The lowest point was the Great Depression of the 1930’s when the population grew by 7.3%.Growth from 2010 through the 2020 count was 7.4%.It had been 9.7% in the previous census.

The total population in the US is 331.5 million. Texas will pick up two new congressional districts based on Census reapportionment and Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado and Montana each gaining one. For the first time since it entered the Union, California has lost a seat.

A decade long drop in immigration is a driving reason for the decline, impacted by lingering effects of the 2008 economic downturn and President Trump’s policies in the last four years. “During the Trump administration, there was pretty strong effort to manage immigration more so than I think happened in previous administrations,” says Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter.

Life expectancy has been on the decline. People aren’t living as long, in part because of increases in drug overdoses during the opioid pandemic, suicide, obesity and liver disease.

And fertility rates have not recovered from last decade’s plateau. “With the great recession, we saw a pretty dramatic decline in fertility in the United States, and that happened across all race-ethnic groups, and pretty much all across the country,” says Potter.

A Pew Research analysis had found half of the growth from 1965 through 2015 was driven by immigration, which added roughly 72 million people. Population growth today is roughly half what it was in the 1990’s.

photo: Getty Images

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