U.S. Population Tops 300 Million
The population of the United States officially topped the 300,000,000 mark at approximately 7:46 am EST. The moment was captured by Rodney Dill (actually, he missed by one because lots of other people had the same idea) and is thumbnailed at right.
The population of the country has increased 50 percent in my lifetime, owing mostly to immigration.
The U.S. population will pass 300 million today, propelled by a wave of immigrants who make up the largest proportion of the nation since the 1920s. The Census Bureau population clock adds one person every 11 seconds and will reach 300 million at 7:46 a.m. New York time, spokesman Mark Tolbert said in a statement. The count includes one birth every seven seconds, one death every 13 seconds and one new immigrant every 31 seconds.
Immigrants now account for 40 percent of U.S. growth, according to the independent Population Reference Bureau, a Washington research institute that assesses population trends. The census data counts all residents and includes both legal and illegal immigrants. “We’re starting a new American melting pot,” William Frey, a demographer at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, said in an interview. “Our birth rate would have declined without immigration,”
Twelve percent of U.S. residents, or 34.3 million people, are foreign-born, with the largest number from Mexico, the Census Bureau said. The U.S. ranks third in net immigration, behind Ireland and Australia, with a rate of 3.4 per 1,000 people in the population in 2005.
The pace of the population increase is accelerating. It took more than 100 years for the U.S. to reach 100 million residents, 52 years to cross 200 million and 39 years to reach 300 million.
The U.S. remains third in population behind China, at 1.3 billion, and India, at 1.1 billion. The world population is 6.6 billion.
In 1915, when the country’s population hit 100 million, 15 percent were foreign-born, amounting to 13.5 million people, the Census Bureau said. Germany was the leading country of origin.
Five percent, or 9.7 million people, were foreign-born when the U.S. population reached 200 million in 1967 following the post-war Baby Boom, the bureau said. The leading country of origin then was Italy. Between 1990 and 2000, the nation’s foreign-born population ballooned 57 percent, according to census figures. “The 1990s was the greatest decade for immigration in U.S. history,” said John Kiley, a spokesman for the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington. The first five years of this decade have continued the trend, he said.