Friday, July 1, 2022

Nation’s Population Slows to Record Low Because of COVID

Vector of USA Map Made of Stickman Figure with Patriotic Colors / Getty
Vector of USA Map Made of Stickman Figure with Patriotic Colors / Getty

*The nation’s population growth has dipped to its lowest rate ever as a result of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

Coronavirus curtailed immigration, delayed pregnancies and killed over 800,000 U.S. residents. The nation grew by only 0.1%: Specifically, an additional 392,665 people from July 2020 to July 2021.

It’s the first time since 1937 that the U.S. population grew by fewer than 1 million people and the lowest growth since at least 1900, when the Census Bureau began population estimates.

Population growth has been slowing for years due to lower birth rates, decreasing international migration and rising mortality rates from an aging population.

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“Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in a historically slow pace of growth,” said Kristie Wilder, a Census demographer.

“Covid’s just exacerbated a difficult situation,” said Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire.

Seventeen states lost population, led by New York (-1.6%), Illinois (-0.9%) and Hawaii (-0.7%). California, which recorded only its second decrease ever after logging its first last year, dropped by 0.7%. The District of Columbia’s population dropped 2.9%.

More broadly, the Midwest lost 0.1% and the Northeast lost 0.6%. The West was essentially flat, while the South gained 0.6%. Texas, the largest Southern state, gained 1.1%. States that grew the most included Idaho (2.9%), Utah (1.7%) and Montana (1.7%). Florida, Texas, and Arizona saw the largest gains from domestic moves as the pandemic prompted more people to uproot for warmer areas with low taxes.

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