In this brief, Senior Demographer Kenneth Johnson reports that, according to recent Census Bureau estimates, the U.S. population has grown at the slowest rate in history in the past two years due to the impact of Covid. Deaths exceeded births in 75 percent of all U.S. counties, far more than at any point in the past. Most of the modest population gain was due to migration, and its extent varied along the rural-urban continuum. Looking ahead, the size and distribution of future population gains remain uncertain. As the impact of the pandemic wanes, the excess of births over deaths is likely to increase, resulting in a larger natural gain. How large this gain will be depends on future fertility. While much about the nation’s demographic future remains uncertain, it is clear that the pandemic altered U.S. mortality and migration trends and at least temporarily influenced population redistribution trends across the entire rural-urban continuum.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Spring 3-31-2023


National Issue Brief No. 171


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



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