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Immigration Tops Birthrate in Record Low US Population Growth for 2020

'This is the first time that net international migration has exceeded natural increase for a given year... '

For the first time in U.S. history population growth by immigration has outpaced the natural replacement birthrate in the U.S., according to data released by the Census Bureau.

Between July 2020 and July 2021, 148,043 people were added to the population by birthrate increase, while 244,622 were added via net immigration numbers, for a net of just 392,665 or 0.1% increase year-over-year, “the lowest rate since the nation’s founding,” said the Bureau.

“This is the first time that net international migration has exceeded natural increase for a given year,” said the Census.

2020 was a bad year for birth rates. The rate at which Americans are having babies was down 4% for the year, in part because of the pandemic, according to data by the New York Times.

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However, the decline in birthrate was first identified in 2008, well before the pandemic.

“So it used to be that there were 2.1 children born to every American woman,” said Sabrina Tavernise in the Times. “That was before 2008. That’s exactly enough to replace their parents when they die. That’s called replacement-level fertility. But now it’s 1.7 children per woman, which is below the rate of replacement.”

When combined with the increase in deaths because of an aging U.S. population and the effects of COVID, the result has been poor net population growth, said one demographer at the Census Bureau.

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“Population growth has been slowing for years because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population,” said Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Population Division at the Census Bureau. “Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in a historically slow pace of growth.”

One state that bucked the trend was Texas, which grew by more than 1% last year, thanks not to immigration– which only contributed a gain of 27,185– but to domestic migration from other states and a net natural increase because of birthrate.

“While gaining population through net international migration (27,185),” reported the Census, “the growth in Texas in the last year was primarily due to gains from net domestic migration (170,307) and natural increase (113,845).”

 

 

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