Friday, January 13, 2006

300 million Americans and counting

Sometime this year the population of the US will reach 300 million.

As of yesterday, the Census Bureau officially pegged the resident population of the United States at closing in on 297,900,000. The bureau estimates that with a baby being born every 8 seconds, someone dying every 12 seconds and the nation gaining an immigrant every 31 seconds on average, the population is growing by one person every 14 seconds. (NY Times)

Looks like our "rabbit-like efficiency" at procreation is getting the best of us again. (Note that the US on average has a higher birthrate than blue-state California with the latter's static replacement level.)

[In 1967] David E. Lilienthal, the former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, warned in The New York Times that unbridled population growth might doom the nation to shortages of water and energy, bury it in pollution and saddle it with unmanageable poverty. "A population of at least 300 million by 2000 will, I now believe, threaten the very quality of life of individual Americans," he wrote.
The Census Bureau projects that even with the nation growing more slowly than ever beginning in 2030, the population will top 400 million less than 40 years from now.

I don't see "unmanageable poverty" in 2045. Nor do I assume that we'll be as economically well off then as we are now. But given the incredibly high standard of living in the US right now, I don't see it as necessarily a bad thing. Certainly not reason enough to snuff out our young.

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