U.S. Population Tops 300 Million

Census 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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    I tried to capture 299,999,999 … 300,000,000 … and 300,000,001 but too many people had the same idea I did and the counter stopped refreshing and ended up jumping from 299,999,995 to 300,000,001 obviously due to the load.

  2. Cernig says:

    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. Both of whom have vibrant and growing economies and neither of whom have the same antipathy to immigration that a great part of the U.S. populace seems to have. Makes you wonder – what’s the reason for the difference in attitude?

    Regards, C

  3. James Joyner says:

    I’m guessing Ireland and Australia aren’t being flooded with unskilled Third World immigrants who don’t speak the language and have no desire to assimilate into the local culture?

  4. Cernig says:


    Perhaps a good guess in the case of Ireland, which is being flooded with skilled First World immigrants who don’t speak the language (Ireland is bilingual) and have no desire to assimilate into the local culture.

    Not so in the case of Australia, where immigrants are overwhelmingly from third-world and Muslim nations. The Ozzies just seem more relaxed about strangers.

    Regards, C

  5. tylerh says:

    James said: have no desire to assimilate into the local culture

    I live next door to the US city with the highest fraction of Spanish speakers in the US — over 90%. Jame’s claim is, quite simply, B.S. Central Americans may not be assimilating as quickly as James wants, but study after study shows that they are assimilating, that their kids generally speak English, that they obey local laws better than the locals, and that a surprising number achieve the America Dream of owning their own home.

    In particular, the desire to learn English is overwhelming in most cases: the same job pays more if you speak English. Last I checked, non-English speaking Nannies got $180/week (or less), English speakers of the identical social background got $220. But it’s tough to learn a new language when you’re working 14 hour days strapped to leaf blower or changing diapers.

    So James, if you want to oppose immigration, fine, but please cut out this hurtful, largely incorrect stereotype.

  6. James Joyner says:


    I support immigration, actually. I’m just explaining why the majority does not and why it’s different here than in Ireland and Australia.

    The DC area is very diverse, with huge Indian, Pakistani, and various Latin American populations. Most of the Latinos have yet to assimilate and their English skills are incredibly poor and they’re doing low-end jobs.

    It can be annoying to deal with clerks and others in the service economy who can’t speak the language. OTOH, I understand why employers hire them. Not only do they work harder and cheaper but they’re often the only ones who’ll do the job at a rate that makes sense for the business.

  7. chris says:

    immigration is something that cannot be avoided. in a country with such a strong economic sector and a relatively lax immigration policy there is a great incentive for our neighbors to the south to move into our own nation. to say that they aren’t assimilating very quick is absurd they are like most immigrants in this world. they move to a new country in order leave behind the place they are from which has obviously not treated them very well.the first generation to show up is going to be lacking in their ability to speak English clearly but within in one maybe two generations they often forget their native language or at least nonlonger use it as their primary language.
    with our nation reaching 300 million it is very likely that the person who was 300 million was an immigrant and there is an even better chance that the person to break 400 million will be an immigrant.