By Pat Maurer
The year 2021 marked the slowest population growth since the nation was founded, a report from the U.S. Census recently said. “Estimates show the slowest growth on record,” the release said.
According to their report the United States grew by 392,665 over the year just past. That’s .1 percent. They attributed the slow growth rate to decreased migration, decreased fertility and increased deaths, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Actually, the population has been growing more slowly for years, the article explained. “Population growth has been slowing for years because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population,” said Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Population Division at the Census Bureau. “Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in an historically slow pace of growth.”
Since April 1st (Census Day), the nation’s populations increased from 331.5 million to 331.9 million, a gain of just .13 percent. From July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, the U.S. growth, 148,043, was a “natural increase,” that relates to the number of births being higher than the number of deaths and “net international migration numbering 244,622. Net international migration means the difference between the number of people moving into the country compared to the number moving out of the U.S.
“This is the first time that the migration number has exceeded the natural increase in a given year,” the article said.
The number of potential voters (those 18 and older) across the country grew to 258.3 million, making them 77.8 percent of the population.
Most people live in the south, the report said, with a population of 127,225,329 or 38.3 percent of the total U.S. population. That was also the only region with positive domestic migration (the number of people moving from one area of the U.S. to another) on the last year.
The Northeast is the least populated of all four regions of the country, where with a population of 57,159,838, lost 365,795 residents due to natural causes and a decrease in net domestic migration.
The Western states saw a gain in population, although they had a negative net domestic migration (losing 144,941). They saw a natural increase of 143,082 and an increase in net international migration totaling 38,347.
Over the past year, 33 state had increases in population while 17 states and the District of Columbia lost people. Over 11 states lost over 10,000 people each, a historically large change in just one year.
Finally Puerto Rico’s population went down by 17,954, a .5 (1/2 a percent) loss in the past year. The loss was largely due to natural decrease and a loss in net international migration.
Comparing states, Texas had the largest population gain; Idaho had the fastest population increase over the last year; New York had the highest number decline; and the District of Columbia had the highest percentage of population decline in the nation. Three states had populations above 20 million in 2021: California (39,237,836), Texas (29,527,941) and Florida (21,781,128).
This is the first release of population estimates data developed from a base population that integrates the 2020 Census, Vintage 2020 estimates, and 2020 Demographic Analysis estimates.