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U.S. Population Growth Slows to Depression-Era Lows

The Sun Belt continues to grow while the rest of the country's population growth continues to slow.
January 7, 2017, 5am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Kim Seidl

Census data released December 20 show big changes in the U.S. population, including slowing growth. "Overall, the United States seems to be in the midst of a population growth paradox: As the nation’s population growth continues to stagnate due to fertility declines in the context of an aging population, internal population shifts help places like the Sun Belt continue to grow," William H. Frey writes for the Brookings Institution.

Early indications from employment information led many to suspect that there would be large intra-state migration. That prediction seems to have been born out. Southwestern states in the Sun Belt are among the country's fastest growing, "Seven of the eight fastest growing states are located in the West: Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Arizona," Frey reports.

Of particular interest is the slow rate of growth for the nation overall. This is partly due to slowing birth trend and a rising death rate (expected to continue as the population continues to age), and partly due to immigration decline. Population growth for the country is currently at a pace not seen since 1936-37. 

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Published on Friday, December 23, 2016 in Brookings Institute
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