'Depression Demographics:' US Population Crawls to 317 Million

Tuesday, 31 Dec 2013 07:36 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The population of the United States going into 2014 is projected at 317,297,938, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, an increase of just 0.7 percent, from a year ago.

The slow growth, reminiscent of the Great Depression years between 1932 and 1937— with women postponing childbirth and fewer immigrants coming to America in search of work— is tied to the economic downturn, The Washington Post reports.

Demographer Ken Johnson, with the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, told the Post, "Economists think the recession is over, but it's not for demographic trends."

The Census Bureau's figures, which showed a net increase of 2.2 million people, has political significance. Defying expectations, New York State narrowly kept its ranking as the third most populous state behind California and Texas. It still leads fourth-place Florida, but the gap narrowed by a further 155,000.

The population is shifting toward the South and West. The gainers are Texas, California, Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado. The Northeast states are stagnating, according to  Sean Trende, a population specialist for Real Clear Politics.

The shifts will eventually have significance for how the seats in the House of Representatives will be apportioned and ultimately for the Electoral College. But those changes won't come in for another decade.

Trende projects Texas will gain three seats in the House and on the Electoral College after the 2020 census. He also believes Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia will all gain one seat with Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia all losing one.

The net result, he says, is that Democratic "blue" states lose three seats and Republican "red" states gain them.

The District of Columbia attracted 13,000 mostly young people seeking work and now has 646,000 residents— its highest number since the 1970s, the Post reported.

The Census Bureau also reported that in January 2014, "one birth is expected to occur every 8 seconds in the United States and one death every 12 seconds."

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