In this data snapshot, Carsey Senior Demographer Kenneth Johnson reports that the U.S. population grew by just 1,256,000 between July of 2021 and July of 2022, according to new Census Bureau estimates. This was an increase from the record low growth of the preceding year, but it remains well below historical rates. There were just 245,000 more births than deaths in the past year, an increase from the 144,000 in the previous year, but still the second smallest natural gain in 80 years. Deaths reached a record high of 3,443,000 last year, 20 percent more than three years ago. In contrast, there were 3,688,000 births, a 2.9 percent increase over the preceding year, but still the second fewest since 1984. Because the natural gain was so small, immigration from abroad, which increased last year, accounted for 80 percent of the population gain.
Looking ahead, the size of future population gains remains in doubt. The excess of births over deaths was already dwindling before the onset of the pandemic. COVID exacerbated these trends by significantly increasing mortality. As the impact of COVID on mortality wanes there are likely to be fewer deaths than in the past two years. As a result, the excess of births over deaths is likely to increase in the near term. How large this gain will be also depends on the number of births.
Carsey School of Public Policy
National Issue Brief No. 164
Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire
Johnson, Kenneth M., "The Recent U.S. Population Growth Rate Increased from Last Year's Record Low, but Remains Below Historical Levels" (2023). The Carsey School of Public Policy at the Scholars' Repository. 454.
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