The population of the United States grew by 1.2 million people – or just 0.4 percent – last year, which is the lowest rate of growth since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, according to a new study.
In 2019, the US population grew by 1.5 million or 0.5 percent.
The growth rate of the U.S. population is expected to shrink even further this year to just 0.2 percent, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump administration’s immigration policies being cited as the main causes, according to a study by Oxford Economics
The decline in immigration is responsible for about 75 percent 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 percent – the lowest since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, according to a new study
The Oxford Economics study cites immigration as a key to population growth in the US. The decline in the number of immigrants between 2017 and 2019 is said to have contributed to the downward trend
That’s a drop of an average of 1 million net immigrants per year during Barack Obama’s second term as president, which began in 2013 and ended in 2017.
The decline in immigration was responsible for more than half of the slowdown in population growth between 2017 and 2019, when Donald Trump came to power.
The study expects the rate of population growth to return to about 0.5 percent by 2023 and 0.6 percent by the end of the decade.
The authors also predict that a more moderate immigration policy will restore the net immigration level to 1 million per year within the same time frame.
The last time the American population grew so slowly was more than a century ago, when an estimated 675,000 Americans died from the Spanish flu.
That year, the country’s population shrank by 0.1 percent.
Researchers at Oxford Economics expect population growth in the US to accelerate from 2022 and beyond.
At that point, the pandemic is expected to end and the federal government is likely to lift Trump-era immigration barriers as well.
‘We estimate that [immigration] dropped to 341,000 by 2020, and we expect it to drop to 180,000 by 2021 before the recovery begins, ” said Nancy Vanden Houten, the study’s chief economist.
‘We’re looking for immigration to return to about 1 minute [million] annually by the end of the decade. ‘
The report was first quoted by Bloomberg News
Vanden Houten said it would be beneficial to allow more immigrants into the country.
“Given the slower growth of the native population – and the aging of the American population – stable immigration levels will be key to sustaining labor force growth for years to come,” she writes.
In the long run, slower population and household growth could negatively impact the future US economy by reducing the supply of workers, the tax base and the demand for goods and services.
Under the Trump administration, the federal government lowered the number of immigrants coming to the United States on a work visa
The COVID-19 pandemic likely played a major role in the severe drop in the number of legal immigrants coming to the United States last year
“This delay can also reduce the demand for new housing construction and lead to decreases in the home value.”
President Joe Biden, who defeated Trump in last November’s election, took office and promised to reverse his predecessor’s immigration policies, but a sharp spike in the number of migrants entering the country illegally has complicated those plans.
Biden’s immigration agenda has largely stalled since he sent draft legislation on behalf of Congress in his first week, as he prioritizes COVID-19 aid and a push for a $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure plan this summer.
Biden has also been on the move more slowly than activists would have liked in lifting historically low Trump-era limits on the admission of refugees for this year, despite promising to increase them quickly.
Trump built his presidency around hardline policies that expanded and strengthened border walls, making it more difficult for people fleeing drug violence and other desperate conditions in Mexico and Central America to seek U.S. asylum and divorced immigrant families.
Biden has tried to seize political momentum on the issue by promising a more humane and orderly system, but his government is struggling to cope with the increasing number 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.
Biden’s immigration plan would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living illegally in the US, but polls show this is not high on the public’s priority list.
The Oxford Economics study mimics other recent findings showing declining population growth across the country.
In December, the US Census Bureau said the population grew the least in at least 120 years between 2019 and 2020.
Population growth in the US has already stagnated in recent years due to immigration restrictions and a decline in fertility, but deaths from coronavirus have 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’re headed when it comes to low population growth,” Frey said.
“It tells you that this has consequences for the population.”
The U.S. population grew 0.35 percent between July 2019 and July 2020, an increase of 1.1 million people in a country whose estimated population was more than 329 million in July, according to Census Bureau estimates.
An analysis by Frey shows that it is the smallest increase this century and also smaller than the one in the last century.
At the height of the Spanish flu, the growth rate from 1918 to 1919 was 0.49 percent – even with US troops abroad during World War I.
The Northeast and Midwest regions of the US experienced a small population decline from 2019 to 2020, while the South and West regions saw a slight increase.
Of the states, Idaho had the highest annual population growth rate, growing from 2.1 percent to 1.8 million residents.
It was followed by Arizona, which grew 1.8 percent; Nevada, which was up 1.5 percent; Utah, which grew 1.4 percent; and Texas, which was up 1.3 percent.
Sixteen states lost population, including California, the nation’s most populous state, which fell 0.18 percent to a population of 39.3 million.
A medical officer in New York is preparing to administer a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. The pandemic has also played a role in the slowdown in the growth of the US population
New York – the epicenter of the spring pandemic – experienced the country’s greatest decline, with an estimated population of 126,000, or a dip of 0.65 percent.
The Empire State has been losing residents since 2016, but the decline from 2019 to 2020 was significantly greater than in recent years.
Population decline in New York was followed by Illinois, down 0.63 percent; Hawaii, down 0.61 percent; West Virginia, down 0.58 percent; and Mississippi, down 0.38 percent.
The estimates released Tuesday were run independently of the 2020 census, which is a census of every US resident, but they provide an example of what the census can show once the data is processed.
The once-every-ten-year census data is used to determine how many congressional seats each state gets by population, as well as the distribution of $ 1.5 trillion in federal funding.
The estimates show that for the first time in the state’s history, California could lose a seat in the House, while Texas could win three seats and Florida two seats, according to an analysis by Frey.
Five other states – Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon – will be seated.
According to Frey, Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia are losing seats.