Population Growth: An UpdateSubmitted by Bernhardt Wealth Management on May 10th, 2021
You might remember dire warnings some years ago about global overpopulation and the threat of overcrowding in the US. So how fast, exactly, is our population growing?
The numbers might surprise you. US population growth for 2016–2017, 2017–2018, 2018–2019, and 2019–2020 have been all below 1%: 0.64%, 0.62%, 0.60%, and 0.59%, respectively. There are currently 331,002,651 people living in the United States, up from 325,084,756 in 2017. The growth rate is projected to continue declining down to near 0% over the next 50 years.
In fact, the CDC just released US birth rate figures for 2020, stating that they are the lowest in decades. The birth and fertility rates in the United States fell in 2020 for the sixth straight year, reaching the lowest level since 1979 and accounting for the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years.
But of course, the population in the rest of the world is growing pell-mell, at an unsustainable rate, right? While it is true that global population growth is higher than the US, the increase isn’t nearly as much as you might imagine. In the years 2015 to 2020, the world population’s annual growth rate was 1.19%, 1.14%, 1.12%, 1.10%, 1.08% and 1.05%. If you have nothing else to do, you can watch the number of people living on this planet go up in real time on this Worldometer website, where every second seems to bring about ten new people into the world. There’s also a list of births and deaths on the calendar day that you log in, and a running tally of births (more than 116 million) and deaths (almost 50 million) this year around the world.
The site also lists the most populous nations, and you already know the top two: China, with 1.44 billion people and about 18.5% of the total; and India, with a population of 1.34 billion, which represents about 17.7% of the total. The US is a very distant third, with 4.2% of the world’s population, followed by Indonesia (274 million), Pakistan (222 million), Brazil (213 million), Nigeria (207 million), Bangladesh (165 million), Russia (146 million), and Mexico (129 million). Finally, you can see the rankings that demographers expect in the year 2025. They expect Nigeria to replace the United States as the third most populous nation on Earth, and that Ethiopia will come in at number 8, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo at number 9.
It might be worth asking: Why does population growth matter? The answer is that a nation’s population is its most fundamental economic driver. When populations grow too fast, research suggests that the environment suffers and that poverty increases. When populations grow too slowly, however, the economy can falter due to an insufficient pool of available labor and other human resources.
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