U.S. had slow­est growth rate in a cen­tury

Antelope Valley Press - - Second Front - By MIKE SCH­NEI­DER As­so­ci­ated Press

OR­LANDO, Fla. — The past year’s pop­u­la­tion growth rate in the United States was the slow­est in a cen­tury due to de­clin­ing births, in­creas­ing deaths and the slow­down of in­ter­na­tional mi­gra­tion, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased Mon­day by the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau.

The U.S. grew from 2018 to 2019 by al­most a half per­cent, or about 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple, with the pop­u­la­tion stand­ing at 328 mil­lion this year, ac­cord­ing to pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates.

That’s the slow­est growth rate in the U.S. since 1917 to 1918, when the na­tion was in­volved in World War I, said Wil­liam Frey, a se­nior fel­low at The Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion.

For the first time in decades, nat­u­ral in­crease — the num­ber of births mi­nus the num­ber of deaths — was less than 1 mil­lion in the U.S. due to an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion of Baby Boomers, whose old­est mem­bers en­tered their 70s within the past sev­eral years. As the large Boomer pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to age, this trend is go­ing to con­tinue.

“Some of these things are locked into place. With the ag­ing of the pop­u­la­tion, as the Baby Boomers move into their 70s and 80s, there are go­ing to be higher num­bers of deaths,” Frey said. “That means pro­por­tion­ately fewer women of child bear­ing age, so even if they have chil­dren, it’s still go­ing to be less.”

Four states had a nat­u­ral de­crease, where deaths out­num­bered births: West Vir­ginia, Maine, New Hamp­shire and Ver­mont.

For the first time this decade, Puerto Rico had a pop­u­la­tion in­crease. The is­land, bat­tered by eco­nomic stag­na­tion and Hur­ri­cane Maria in the past sev­eral years, in­creased by 340 peo­ple be­tween 2018 and 2019, with peo­ple mov­ing to the is­land off­set­ting nat­u­ral de­crease.

In­ter­na­tional mi­gra­tion to the U.S. de­creased to 595,000 peo­ple from 2018 to 2019, drop­ping from as many as 1 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional migrants in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates. Im­mi­gra­tion re­stric­tions by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion com­bined with a per­cep­tion that the U.S. has fewer eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties than it did be­fore the re­ces­sion a decade ago con­trib­uted to the de­cline, Frey said.

Ten states had pop­u­la­tion de­clines in the past year. They in­cluded New York, which lost al­most 77,000 peo­ple; Illi­nois, which lost al­most 51,000 res­i­dents; West Vir­ginia, which lost more than 12,000 peo­ple; Louisiana, which lost al­most 11,000 res­i­dents; and Con­necti­cut, which lost 6,200 peo­ple. Mis­sis­sippi, Hawaii, New Jersey, Alaska and Ver­mont each lost less than 5,000 res­i­dents.

Re­gion­ally, the South saw the great­est pop­u­la­tion growth from 2018 to 2019, in­creas­ing 0.8% due to nat­u­ral in­crease and peo­ple mov­ing from oth­ers parts of the coun­try. The North­east had a pop­u­la­tion de­crease for the first time this decade, de­clin­ing 0.1% due pri­mar­ily to peo­ple mov­ing away.

As­so­ci­ated Press

In this June 15, 2017 file photo, peo­ple walk in­side the Ocu­lus, the new tran­sit sta­tion at the World Trade Cen­ter in New York.

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