Tuesday, October 17, 2006

300 Million Today

America is expected to welcome its 300 millionth citizen today -- and the chances are that it will be an immigrant, not a newborn.The face of America is changing, with a return to "melting pot roots", writes the San Francisco Chonicle:
A lot has changed since 1967, the year that America hit the 200 million mark. At that point, foreign-born residents made up just 5 percent of the population. By 2004 [...] that figure had jumped to 12 percent [...] Immigrants and their children and grandchildren have accounted for more than half of the population increase in the United States since 1967.

A baby is born in the country every 7 seconds, a new immigrant arrives every 31 seconds and someone dies every 13 seconds, for a net average gain of one resident every 11 seconds.
So, what lies ahead? According to a five-part series on the subject in the Christian Science Monitor,
There will be 400 million Americans in 2043, climbing to 420 million by midcentury, the US Census Bureau estimates. The added numbers will change the nature of the populace, reflecting trends already begun.

Between the last official census in 2000 and the one of 2050, non-Hispanic whites will have dwindled from 69 percent to a bare majority of 50.1 percent. The share who are Hispanic will have doubled to 24 percent. Asians also will have doubled to 8 percent of the population. African-Americans will have edged up to 14 percent. In other words, the US will be on the verge of becoming a "majority of minorities."
This pending "Wars, natural disasters, shifts in the economy, unforeseen social and political developments - any or all of these could affect the numbers, perhaps dramatically." The series goes on to describe the shifts in population age, ethnicity and geography -- and their impact on the American "landscape". Not all rosy, au contraire. But the milestone is worth marking, even when number 300,000,001 is right behind.
photo L.A.Times

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