For some time I have been writing about excessive population growth and its consequences for the environment, our finite natural resources, and our quality of life. It now appears that my worst fears are coming to pass. In the year 2000, the United States Bureau of the Census issued three population projections(Middle Series, Lowest Series, and Highest Series respectively) for the United States. To These are the most recent projections (in thousands) that go up to the year 2100.
For the year 2009, the three series show (in thousands) 297,436; 290,018; 307,060 respectively with the figure 286,322 added to show what the result would be if immigration was reduced to zero. For the year 2100, the three series show 570,954; 282,706; 1,182,390; and 377,444 for zero immigration respectively.
So, on which trajectory do we find ourselves? Answer: The Highest Series.
The Census Bureau's "Highest Series" projected the population of the United States would be 307,060,000 on July 1, 2009.
So, what did it turn out to be? The Census Bureau now estimates that we hit 307,070,000 people as of that date. That means we are almost precisely on the Highest Series trajectory. And that means we are on track for a population of 1.182 billion persons in the year 2100. For comparison, India currently has a population of 1.16 billion, and China 1.3 billion.(1)
The United States reached a replacement level fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman in the year 1972.
The majority of population growth since 1972 has been due to post-1970 immigrants and their descendants. They will account for nearly all of our population growth the rest of this century. Not that immigrants are bad people, but they tend to come from cultures where the women have a lot of children. The United States is on track to add its next 100 million people faster than any nation in the world except for Pakistan and India. The U.S. population for the year 2100 in a scenario where immigration is halted (the “zero migration series”) is 377 million persons.
There are those who find it convenient to ignore these facts but yet claim to be patriots. They are in actuality far from it. They are more like what Thomas Paine referred to as the "sunshine soldiers and summer patriots" back in the 1700s.
The attention of all citizens is essential to making sure that the United States does not become as populated as China or India. The immigration bills that citizens helped defeat in 2006 and 2007 each would have increased legal immigration to 2 million per year, and the legalized illegal aliens would have been entitled to bring in their extended families, who in turn would have been entitled to bring in their extended families in a snowballing process of virtually unlimited chain migration. There would also have been a guest worker program, and children born here to guest workers would have been U.S. citizens under current interpretation of the law. A population of 1 billion or more by the year 2100 would have been virtually locked in by either of those bills. This is a scenario that was completely outlandish even 15 years ago, but is now a distinct possibility if you do not make your voice heard.
1. Robert E. Lang, Mariela Alfonzo, and Casey Dawkins, American Demographics, Planning Magazine, May 2009, at p. 13 and see Arthur C. Nelson, Mega Trends: Thinking Beyond the Crisis. Presentation at the University of Pennsylvania, March 17, 2009. http://www.upenn.edu/penniur/pdf/Nelson%20Presentation.pdf, at page 3 of 49.
2. The Census Bureau’s U.S. Population Clock is actually an estimate. The year 2000 Census revealed the U.S. population to be 6.8 million persons larger than the census bureau had previously estimated. One factor that could have already reduced population growth in 2009 is the recession. There are reports that families are having fewer children due to the uncertainty. The Center for Immigration studies recently concluded that the illegal population has dropped by more than 1.5 million persons in the past year. I do not know if the census bureau has incorporated those factors into the current Population Clock estimate.
3. The Census Bureau Working Paper describing the assumptions behind the population predictions can be found by clicking here.