The U.S. population grew by 0.1% over the year that ended July 1, the slowest rate in American history, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bureau estimated that the population grew by 392,665 in the 12 months before July 1. It attributed the record low to “decreased net international migration, decreased fertility, and increased mortality due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Of the 392,665 people, just 148,043 came from natural increase (based on net number of births and deaths over a year), while 244,622 came from international migration. The bureau said that this was first time migration outpaced natural increase.
The bureau added that 33 states saw population increases while 17 states and Washington, D.C., saw decreases.
“This is a historically large number of states to lose population in a year,” the bureau said.
Of the states that saw growth, Texas had the largest overall increase, and Idaho grew at 2.9%, the fastest rate. Of the states that saw decreases, New York’s was the greatest, while D.C. shrunk by 2.9%, the fastest rate.
While America’s population growth slowed even before the pandemic, Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division, said that COVID-19 inhibited the rate even more.
“Population growth has been slowing for years because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population,” Wilder said. “Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in a historically slow pace of growth.”
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