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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 1/22/2006

A whole lot of Americans

Census Bureau experts say the 300 millionth American will arrive in October, either by birth or immigration. Whether it's an infant or a new arrival from overseas, he or she is certain to be heralded as the symbol of a changing America.

The Census Bureau says the nation's population is approaching 297.9 million. A shrinking majority is still white. But since Hispanic women have higher birth rates, the face of the nation is going to change this century, and probably a whole lot sooner than anybody thinks.

Taking immigrants into account and the birth of a baby every 8 seconds, and factoring in one death every 12 seconds, the population of the United States grows by about four persons every minute.

Ultimately, that means it's going to get a lot more crowded.

It will be interesting to see if the October prediction holds true.

The Census Bureau missed the mark when the 100 million and 200 million tallies were recorded. When the poulation passed 100 million back in 1915, the experts couldn't figure out whether that birth occurred in January or April. And although Robert Ken Woo, Jr., of Atlanta has been recognized as the 200 millionth American - he was born in 1967 - the Census Bureau said the milestone population mark was probably reached two years earlier. We'll let Mr. Woo keep the recognition, however.

Guessing the race, sex, and just how the 300 millionth American will arrive is sort of fun, and obviously not an exact science.

Counting all those American noses, however, is serious business. Federal programs, federal spending, and even congressional representation, depend on how many people live here, and just where they are.

Three hundred million Americans is a huge number. We should reach an even bigger number, 400 million, in 40 years.

We'll take comfort in the commentary of our syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell, who said in these pages recently that despite our growing population, all the towns and cities in America comprise less than 10 percent of our land area.

Of course, he's including Alaska.



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