U.S. Population Growth Sags Despite Economic Upturn

The recession has taken its toll on U.S. population growth - both in babies born and immigration. While the recession officially ended June, 2009, growth rates continue to lag for the second consecutive year at .7%, the lowest since the Depression.

A demographer from the Population Reference Bureau attributes the growth slow-down entirely to the downturn and its lingering effect. The Census Bureau estimates the total U.S. population at 311.6 million.

"The U.S. fertility rate, which has been close to the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman in contrast to many developed nations that are well below that level, now is estimated to have fallen to 1.9, says demographer Joseph Chamie, former director of the United Nations Population Division and more recently research director at the Center for Migration Studies."

"For much of the nation's history, a booming population symbolized economic vitality and growing influence in the world. But environmental groups have questioned how many more people the nation can support, fueling a push for "sustainable" communities that encourage conserving green space and relying less on autos."

Full Story: Difficult economy slows U.S. population growth

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Smart Growth America on Population Growth/Smart Growth

Surprisingly, the print edition of this USA Today article was more complete than the on-line version. I contacted Smart Growth America to get a better link that showed the published comments of Bill Fulton, V.P. for Policy and Programs), that were not included in the link above. Here's what appeared in the print edition, front page no less!

"Population does not necessarily equal economic growth anymore," says Bill Fulton, vice president for policies and programs at Smart Growth America, a coalition of environmentalists, planners and others working to slow sprawl.

He points to Las Vegas' population boom, which created low-paying jobs that disappeared when the housing market collapsed. By contrast, he says, cities such as Pittsburgh lost population but household wealth went up.

"We're still talking about adding a lot of people," Fulton says. "We know we can't environmentally sustain those people living in sprawled locations. … Local governments are not going to be able to afford sprawl anymore."

Please refer to "Economic crisis slows U.S. population growth" to see the complete article.

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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