According to reports I've been seeing and hearing today, Tuesday will mark the birth of a person that will push the population of the United States to 300 million. Pretty impressive. When I was growing up, I had always heard that America was a nation of "about 200 million". I remember seeing the stats from the 2000 census and thinking, "Wha?? Where'd everyone come from?"
Two things I learned recently about the population of the United States.
1. It's growing like crazy — I found this data on msnbc.
Here are the countries projected to gain the most, and lose the most, people by 2050:
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||59,319,661||177,271,020||199|
Compared to other industrialized nations, the US is growing by leaps and bounds, while the rest remain constant or even decline. Many will talk about the burden so many extra people will make on our society, but I don't really believe it will be catastrophic. I guess I still believe that America really is the Land of Opportunity — and it should be, regardless of whether your family came over on the Mayflower, or got here last month from Central America. Is the playing field level? — Of course not. Is it more level than just about anywhere else? — You bet'cha.
2. It's not growing everywhere. One place you'll find some extra elbow room is in the central plains states. Check out this map of Nebraska, showing which years recorded the highest population for each county.
Remarkable. Half the counties in the state — maybe MORE than half, had a larger population before 1930 than in 2000! I know that the commercialization of agriculture has driven a lot of people out of farming, but this really blows me away. I didn't take the time to dig out the data, but I'd bet the Dakotas have the same pattern.
I wonder if as the coastal mega-cities continue to sprawl and as the nation becomes more wired (lowering the requirement for physical proximity for many endeavors), whether new growth will be initiated in places like Nebraska. Perhaps the heartland will become the frontier…again.