U.S. population growth is slowing, approaching zero, and even reversing in half of all states in 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Early estimates are the U.S. population amid COVID-19 grew by just 0.35% for the year ending July 1, 2020, and more people died than were born in half of U.S. states, up from just five in 2019, according to the report.
That growth is already the lowest ever documented and some experts predict the U.S. population for 2020, with the impact of COVID-19, might have shrunk for the first time ever.
The effects will potentially have a damaging effect on the U.S. economy.
"The economy of the developed world for the last two centuries now has been built on demographic expansion," Global Aging Institute President Richard Jackson told the Journal. "We no longer have this long-term economic and geopolitical advantage."
Still, China, Russia, and nations in the European Union have fertility rates below replacement for longer and have older populations in general, according to conservative American Enterprise Institute researcher Nicholas Eberstadt.
"The United States' demographic situation is comparatively favorable," he told the Journal. "The big wild card is going to be what happens with immigration."
This year the U.S. projects to have at least 300,000 fewer births, as births have declined in the first three months of 2021 compared to 2020, according to economists Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip Levine. Provisional government data already show births in the first three months of 2021 declined compared with 2020.
Among the variables for the population growth, in addition to births, immigration, COVID-19 death, homicides, and increasing drug overdoses, is life expectancy – which dropped by 1.5 years, the largest drop since World War II, according to the report.
There were more deaths than births in 55% of U.S. counties for the year ended June 30, 2020, up from 37% of counties at the start of the previous decade, according to census figures.
Before the pandemic, just West Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont had more births than deaths.
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