US Census Bureau officials report that 2021 was the first time since 1937 that the US population grew by less than a million people.
WASHINGTON, DC – New Year’s Day 2022 has dawned on an America whose population continues to grow.
But not by much.
In their year-end recap, US Census Bureau officials reported that “America’s population grew at a slower rate in 2021 than any other year since the nation’s founding.”
“The year 2021 marks the first time since 1937 that the U.S. population has grown by less than one million people,” said Luke Rogers, head of the Census Bureau’s population estimates branch.
Rogers explained that the U.S. population grew only 0.1% over the past 12 months because “births and net international migration have declined at the same time as deaths have increased…This trend has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in historically slow population growth in 2021.”
The Rogers Census branch estimates that the US population grew by only 706,899 people in 2021, giving a total population of 332,403,650 as of January 1, 2022.
Slow population growth has been a trend in America for more than a decade due to declining fertility among young people, increasing mortality among the aging U.S. population, limitations in immigration and, more recently, deaths resulting from COVID-19.
But America’s population grew at an even slower rate in 2021 than in 1918 and 1919, when the country was battling a deadly flu pandemic and fighting in World War I.
However, due to the regional economy and employment conditions, the slow growth trend over the past year has not been felt uniformly across the country.
From July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, ten mostly Western states experienced population growth well above the national rate for 2021.
These states were Idaho (2.9% growth); Utah (1.7%); Montana (1.7%); Arizona (1.7%); South Carolina (1.4%); Delaware (1.2%); Texas (1.1%); Florida (1.0%); Nevada (1.0%) and South Dakota (0.9%).
Ten states with sharp population declines were the District of Columbia (a 2.9 percent decline); New York (down 1.6%); Illinois (down 0.9%); Hawaii (minus 0.7%); California (minus 0.7%); Louisiana (minus 0.6%); Massachusetts (minus 0.5%); North Dakota (minus 0.5%); West Virginia (down 0.4%); and Mississippi (down 0.2%).