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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

US population growth at lowest rate in first year of pandemic

US population growth fell to its lowest rate since the country’s inception during the first year of the pandemic, according to data released Tuesday, as the coronavirus curtailed immigration, delayed pregnancies and killed hundreds of thousands of US residents. Went.

According to population estimates released by the US Census Bureau, the United States grew by only 0.1%, with an additional 392,665 being added to the US population from July 2020 to July 2021, bringing the country’s tally to 331.8 million.

The US has been experiencing slow population growth for years but the pandemic has bucked that trend. This was the first time since the previous year 1937 that the country’s population increased by less than one million people.

“I was expecting lower growth, but it was not low,” said William Frey, a senior fellow at Brookings Metro, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “It tells us that this pandemic has had a huge impact on us in every way, and now is the demography.”

Once the pandemic is tackled, the US may eventually see a reduction in deaths, but population growth likely will not return to previous years due to low births. Frey said this would increase the need for immigration by young workers, whose taxes could support programs like Social Security.

“We have an aging population and that means fewer women of childbearing age,” Frey said. “We see young people stop having kids and they’re going to have fewer kids.”

Population estimates are derived from counting the number of births, deaths, and migrations in the Americas; for the first time, international migration has exceeded the natural growth rate that exceeds birth deaths. There was a net increase of about 245,000 inhabitants from international migration, but only about 148,000 deaths from new births.

International migration fell by almost half compared to the previous year due to COVID-19 restrictions, such as the closure of borders to non-essential travel and the closure of many consulates abroad where visas are issued. As recently as 2016, the US had a net increase of over 1 million international migrants.

In more than two dozen states, most notably Florida, the number of deaths exceeds births. More than 45,000 people died in Florida compared to births, but the state’s saving grace was the migration benefit of more than 259,000 people, the highest in the country.

Demographer Kenneth Johnson of the University of New Hampshire called the decline in the United States’ natural population growth “astonishing”, saying it had the smallest prevalence of births over deaths in more than 80 years.

Johnson said, “Of course most of it is COVID, but it’s not all. US natural growth before COVID was already on a low decline, with fertility rates hitting a new record low every year and deaths continuing to rise.” was.” Population aging.”

Between 2020 and 2021, 33 states saw an increase in population primarily through home migration, while 17 states and the District of Columbia decreased in population.

The states in the Mountain West saw the greatest year-over-year growth rates, with Idaho growing at about 3%, and Utah and Montana each increasing in population by 1.7%. The District of Columbia lost 2.9% of its population, while New York and Illinois lost 1.6% and 0.9% of their population, respectively. In net numbers, California had the highest net population loss of people moving to any state: approximately 353,000.

While the pandemic gave some people the option of working remotely, data released last month by the Census Bureau showed it did not cause any major migration to the US.

However, some people took advantage of the opportunity. Fed up with the heat, hurricane hazards and traffic in Houston, tech worker Heidi Krueger moved to a small town south of Knoxville, Tennessee in September. She can see the Great Smoky Mountains from her front porch.

“Since I was working from home during the pandemic, it made it possible for me to move and still do my job,” Krueger said. “As long as I have internet, I can still connect with my customers.”

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Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP,

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Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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