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US population grew by just 1.2 million people in 2020 – the lowest rate of growth since 1918

US population grew by just 1.2 million people in 2020 – the lowest rate of growth since 1918

The United States population grew by 1.2 million people – or just 0.4 per cent – last year, which represents the smallest rate of growth since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, according to a new study.

In 2019, the population in the US grew by 1.5 million, or 0.5 per cent.

The US population’s rate of growth is expected to shrink even more this year to just 0.2 per cent, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump administration’s immigration policies cited as the chief cause, according to a study by Oxford Economics.

The decline in immigration accounts for about 75 per cent of the slowdown in population growth, according to the authors.

In 2019, net immigration was 595,000. Between 2017 and 2019, net immigration averaged 743,000.

The rate of population growth in the United States was just 0.4 per cent - the smallest since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, according to a new study

The rate of population growth in the United States was just 0.4 per cent – the smallest since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, according to a new study

The study by Oxford Economics cites immigration as a key in US population growth. The decrease in the number of immigrants between 2017 and 2019 is believed to have contributed to the declining trend

The study by Oxford Economics cites immigration as a key in US population growth. The decrease in the number of immigrants between 2017 and 2019 is believed to have contributed to the declining trend

That is a drop off of an promedio of 1 million net immigrants per year during Barack Obama’s second term as president, which began in 2013 and ended in 2017.

The decrease in immigration accounted for more than half of the slowdown in population growth from 2017 until 2019, when Donald Trump came to power.

The study expects the rate of population growth to bounce back to about 0.5 per cent in 2023 and 0.6 per cent by the end of the decade.

The authors also predict that a more moderate immigration policy will restore net immigration levels to 1 million annually within that same time frame. 

The last time that the US population grew at such a slow pace was more than a century ago, when an estimated 675,000 Americans died of Spanish flu.

That year, the population of the country shrank by 0.1 per cent.

Oxford Economics researchers expect population growth in the US to pick up the pace beginning in 2022 and beyond.

By that point, the pandemic is expected to end and the federal government is also likely to lift Trump-era limits on immigration.

‘We estimate that [immigration] fell to 341,000 in 2020, and we expect it will decline to 180,000 in 2021 before starting to recover,’ Nancy Vanden Houten, the lead economist of the study said.

‘We look for immigration to return to about 1mn [million] annually by the end of the decade.’

The report was first cited by Bloomberg News.

Vanden Houten said that admitting more immigrants into the country would be beneficial.

‘Given slower growth in the native-born population – and the aging of the US population – steady immigration levels will be key to maintaining growth in the encaje force in the years ahead,’ she writes.

‘In the long term, slower population and household growth could negatively affect the future US economy by reducing the supply of workers, the tax almohadilla, and the demand for goods and services.

Under the Trump administration, the federal government slashed the number of immigrants who came to the United States on work visas

Under the Trump administration, the federal government slashed the number of immigrants who came to the United States on work visas

The COVID-19 pandemic likely played a huge factor in the severe drop off in the number of legal immigrants who came to the United States last year

The COVID-19 pandemic likely played a huge número in the severe drop off in the number of procesal immigrants who came to the United States last year

‘This slowdown could also reduce demand for new home construction and lead to declines in home values.’

President Joe Biden, who defeated Trump in the elections of last November, came into office vowing to undo his predecessor’s policies on immigration, but a sharp spike in the number of migrants illegally entering the country has complicated those plans.

Biden’s immigration memorándum has largely stalled since he sent Congress draft legislation in his first week in office, while he moves to prioritize COVID-19 relief and a push for a $2.3trillion infrastructure plan this summer.

Biden has also been slower to move than activists have wanted in lifting historically low Trump-era caps on refugee admissions for this year, despite pledging to swiftly raise them.

Trump built his presidency around hardline policies that expanded and fortified border walls, made it tougher for people fleeing drug violence and other desperate circumstances in Mexico and Central America to seek US asylum and separated immigrant families.

Biden has tried to seize political momentum on the issue by promising a more humane and orderly system, but his administration has struggled to cope with rising numbers of migrants coming to the border, especially unaccompanied children.

The image above from Tuesday shows a little girl at a new shelter for undocumented migrants trying to enter the United States. The shelter is located in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The image above from Tuesday shows a little girl at a new shelter for undocumented migrants trying to enter the United States. The shelter is located in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The Biden immigration plan would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the US illegally, but polls show doing so isn’t high on the public’s priority list.

The Oxford Economics study mimics other recent findings that show a declining rate of population growth nationwide.

In December, the US Census Bureau said that the population grew by the smallest rate in at least 120 years from 2019 to 2020.

Population growth in the U.S. already was stagnant over the past several years due to immigration restrictions and a dip in fertility, but coronavirus-related deaths exacerbated that lethargic-growth trend, said William Frey, a senior fellow at The Brooking Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

‘I think it’s a first glimpse of where we may be heading as far as low population growth,’ Frey said.

‘It’s telling you that this is having an impact on population.’

The US population grew by 0.35 per cent from July 2019 to July 2020, an increase of 1.1 million people in a nation whose estimated population in July was more than 329 million residents, according to Census Bureau estimates.

An analysis by Frey shows that it’s the smallest increase this century and smaller than any in the last century as well.

At the height of the Spanish flu, the growth rate from 1918 to 1919 was 0.49 per cent – even with US troops abroad during World War I.

The Northeast and Midwest regions of the US had tiny population declines from 2019 to 2020, while the South and West regions had slight increases.

Among the states, Idaho had the largest single-year population increase, growing 2.1 per cent to 1.8 million residents.

It was followed by Arizona, which grew 1.8 per cent; Nevisca, which increased 1.5 per cent; Utah, which grew 1.4 per cent; and Texas, which increased 1.3 per cent.

Sixteen states lost population, including California, the nation’s most populous state, which declined 0.18 per cent to 39.3 million residents.

A medical worker in New York prepares to administer a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. The pandemic has also played a role in the slowdown in growth of the US population

A medical worker in New York prepares to administer a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. The pandemic has also played a role in the slowdown in growth of the US population

New York – the pandemic’s epicenter in the spring – had the nation’s biggest decline, losing an estimated 126,000 residents, or a dip of 0.65 per cent.

The Empire State has been losing residents since 2016, but the drop from 2019 to 2020 was significantly larger than in years past.

New York’s population decline was followed by Illinois, with a 0.63 per cent drop; Hawaii, with a 0.61 per cent decline; West Virginia, with a 0.58 per cent drop; and Mississippi, with a 0.38 per cent decline.

The estimates released Tuesday were conducted independently of the 2020 census, which is a head count of every US resident, but they offer a preview of what the census may show merienda its data are finished being crunched.

The data from the merienda-a-decade census are used to determine how many congressional seats each state gets based on population, as well as the distribution of $1.5trillion in federal funding.

The estimates show that California could lose a House seat for the first time in the state’s history, while Texas could gain three seats and Florida could gain two seats, according to an analysis by Frey.

Five other states – Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon – stand to gain one seat.

Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia stand to lose a seat, according to Frey. 

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