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U.S. Population Hits 300 Million 492

Posted by Zonk
from the conserving-most-of-our-planet's-resources-since-1776 dept.
ChrisK87 writes "The United States' population will hit 300 million on Tuesday morning, just 39 years after it reached 200 million, the US Census Bureau estimates. A 'population clock' will record the milestone at 0746 (1146 GMT) — a timing based on calculations that factor birth and death rates and migration." From the article: "But it is not possible to say if the 300-millionth American was a new-born or crossed one of the US borders. Correspondents say that there is not expected to be the same hullabaloo as when the figure of 100 million was reached in 1915, or the double century in 1967 when President Johnson gave a speech and newborn Robert Ken Woo Jr was hailed the 200-millionth American by Life magazine. Today, the population figure is mired in the divisive politics of immigration — a hot-button issue ahead of the 7 November mid-term elections, they say." The story has lots of interesting stats and graphs, for those of us so inclined.
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U.S. Population Hits 300 Million

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  • by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered@hot ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:22AM (#16467199) Journal
    One thing I would like to know is: How the hell are you going to support all those people when the oil runs out?
  • 400 million (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@devinm o o r e .com> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:23AM (#16467219) Homepage Journal
    At the current rate of birth/death in the US, we'll hit 400 million in approx 2043 [csmonitor.com], with the southern states gaining the most. It makes sense that the south would gain more, because I can't see how we can support that many more people in the bigger northern cities.

  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:24AM (#16467237) Homepage
    Anyway, congratulations. I heard on the radio this morning the states are the worlds third most populous country, right after China and India. Surprised me.

    Anyone know why the US is stilling growing significantly, as opposed to most European countries? Which demographics are producing most children? How much does the number of legal immigrants contribute to the growth?
  • by paranode (671698) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:29AM (#16467283)
    Anyone know why the US is stilling growing significantly, as opposed to most European countries? Which demographics are producing most children? How much does the number of legal immigrants contribute to the growth?
    The US is still growing significantly because there is a more family-oriented mindset here than in Europe. The European birthrates are declining in many places while the US continues to rise. This is catalysed by immigrants who are mostly Catholic and very pro-family (and often not into birth control).

    The demographics producing the most children are hispanics, around 3 times the general population last I checked.

    The number of *legal* immigrants has little effect because it is hard to immigrate to the US legally. The number of illegal immigrants, however, has a very large impact on the growth rate, as per the answer to your second question.
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:29AM (#16467295) Journal
    Anyone know why the US is stilling growing significantly, as opposed to most European countries?

    Higher birth and immigration rates.

    Which demographics are producing most children?

    Red states. I'm serious. Comapre Utah to California. (I'd give you the stats if I were less lazy.)

    How much does the number of legal immigrants contribute to the growth?

    Don't know, but for comparison, I read that of all immigrants in the world (people who leave one country for another to live), 3/8 of them have the US as their destination.

    Another stat I can't be bothered to check, but sounds reasonable.
  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:39AM (#16467485) Journal
    A few reasons. Europe is mainly 'full' -- its landmass is less than that of the US IIRC, or darn near close...they have 700+ million, the US just hit 300. Alot of central Europe is mountain region remember, they just don't have the wide open plains like north america.

    Also, Europe is comprised of very old, mature set of societies. Less social and economic mobility; all the land is owned and in use. The US still has large amounts space and sparsely populated cities. The rustbelt has a negative population growth for example.

    Finally, I think the social objectives are a bit different. Speaking in very broad terms, most European societies are not as materalistic. There's alot of negatives to materialism as a motivator, but it does give your economy a very powerful engine. This creates oppportunity, which in turn attracts immigrants.
  • Re:400 million (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CrazyTalk (662055) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:44AM (#16467573)
    Bigger northern cities? You mean Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and many others that are a small fraction of the size they were 50 years ago? If people wanted to move up north, theres plenty of room for 'em.
  • by rf0 (159958) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:46AM (#16467589) Homepage
    A quick google turned up this article

    http://www.newhousenews.com/archive/tilove092006.h tml [newhousenews.com]
  • Let's not bundle the whole of Europe in one basket. There are large birth rate differences between European countries and religion (or catholicism as you mentionned) seems to have little to do with it: Italy very catholic, low birth rate, France, mostly atheist high birth rate. The main differences in Europe seems to come from different state/employer benefits for women and cultural attitudes. For instance in Germany or the Netherlands, a woman with a young child is frowned upon if she goes to work, whereas in France it's the reverse.
  • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:54AM (#16467751) Homepage
    I'm definitely onboard with sustainability theory, but I cringe when people talk as if the planet's just bursting at the seams with people. It isn't.

    Furthermore, people are not hamsters. Each person who is born has a brain, and intelligence that can be applied to solving problems such as "overpopulation". I suspect inefficient resource allocation is a larger part of the poverty problem than raw "mouths to feed" numbers.
  • by aztec rain god (827341) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @10:19AM (#16468195)
    The US is still growing significantly because there is a more family-oriented mindset here than in Europe.


    I always am a little perplexed when that sentiment is expressed. What family values are being promoted by having 50+ hour work weeks, no national health plan, preschool that is glorified baby-sitting, a laughable primary education system, and open hostility to reproductive rights? All that aside, right now it is prohibitively expensive to have children under this system. Granted, this is purely anecdotal, but within my circle of friends (all around 30ish), nobody is having kids or planning on having kids- its just too comfortable to cohabit in sin and live it up.
  • I live in Japan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by peter Payne (947429) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @10:26AM (#16468345) Homepage
    (I'll skip the obvious joke about how Americans are just growing and growing, in population as well as belt size...)

    I am an American living in Japan, where the population has just started shrinking as of this year. No one has babies -- too much stress, cost, and there are subtle pressures to have 1-2 kids because everyone else is having 1-2. It's odd and a little scary. Is population shrinkage (which will be small of course, and much less imporantant than the tendency of people to get the heck out of the "inaka" (the sticks) and head for the cities, either big ones or medium sized ones) really a bad thing? Does it mean permanently shrinking GDP, or is it just one more of those things that we'll deal with? (I suspect the latter).

    Anyway, it's great to read all those books from the 1950s about how we'd all be shoulder-to-shoulder by now, with absolutely no room to stretch in any direction. Just goes to show.
  • by RootWind (993172) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @10:35AM (#16468533)
    ...Attending a Jesuit university. I don't know if this is just because of the Jesuit influence, but fundamentalist Christians would surely hate our guts. Non-literal reading and analysis of scripture, ethics not entirely based on the papacy, evolution is fine (both embraced by John Paul II actually), toleration and even support of gays. Overall, a lack of hate or bigotry, even against some of the more hard-hitting issues like abortion. So yes, there does seem to be a "liberal" flavor to American Catholicism though I would technically call it moderate (in a number of Catholic communities at least). Though I did see some pretty fundamentalist Catholics while I was visiting in Arizona. So it really depends on region I suppose.
  • by gerilart (825523) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @10:50AM (#16468841)
    Apparently government is against legal immigration especially of highly educated people (BS,MS, PhD). Try to immigrate to US legally. There is three ways: 1 simple. Marry US citizen. No problem here as long as you can get to the country and find somebody who want to marry you. If you are married already, well you have a tough luck. Only divorce can help. Even if you get married you can not work legally for 2 years. That helps welfare and Social Security a lot. 2. Invest at least 0.5 M$ and hire 6 US citizens, not very easy for every one. 3. Through the family, as long if you are not from Philippines because you have to wait 15 years or Mexico (13 years)to be able to apply for permanent residence. For other countries something like 5 years, Off course for all that time you have to wait in your country or be in on your family support since there are no worker visas available. 4. Through employment, not possible since there is no worker visas available and there is about 500 000 people waiting in line for permanent residence with only 100 000 permanent resident cards a year. Wait again 5 years If you add family members to people waiting in line the number will double and waiting time appears like 10 years. Good luck to all legal immigrants! Now you know why people immigrate illegally.
  • by DougWebb (178910) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @11:38AM (#16469963) Homepage
    Marry US citizen. No problem here as long as you can get to the country and find somebody who want to marry you. If you are married already, well you have a tough luck. Only divorce can help. Even if you get married you can not work legally for 2 years. That helps welfare and Social Security a lot.

    You can work legally right away, if you do it right. My wife entered the US on a Fiancee Visa and we got married right away; this allowed her to get a SS# and work permit immediately. Going through the process to get a temporary Green Card and then a permanent Green Card has taken longer; we just had our fourth anniversary last month, and we're waiting for the permanent Green Card to finally arrive in the mail. Next year, she'll be eligible to apply for citizenship; we expect that she'll be able to vote in the next presidential election.

    This approach has cost a lot of time and a couple thousand dollars in application fees, and only worked because she was still in Canada when we got engaged, and didn't move until we were ready to get married. It was the best approach though, because she was able to work during the whole process.

  • Re:Plenty of Room (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ranton (36917) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @12:17PM (#16470851)
    No, you are flat out wrong.

    Also, your prejudices are apparantly based on what you've seen in Deliverance and on the Jerry Springer show. The south truly is a New South. Sure, if you go out to rural areas you'll find plenty of rednecks, but rednecks tend to not bother anyone and they basically just want to be able to live their lives without anyone messin' with 'em.

    This shows another reason why problems such as poor education are difficult to fix. You cannot even mention the problem without someone calling you prejudiced. Here we have someone who is probably fairly intelligent, but is in denial that there could possibly be a problem is the society that he/she came from.

    I have never seen Deliverance and I cannot stand Jerry Springer. If you want to use anecdotal evidence, there are plenty of rednecks in Illinois too. But I do not use anecdotal evidence, the truth is much more useful.

    In the summer of 2005 Toyota passed up building a new plant to produce RAV4s in the south; passing up huge financial incentives to build in various southern U.S. locations (which are trying to build up their economy). Why did they do this? Because the educational level in the Southern United States was so low that trainers for Japanese plants in Alabama had to use pictorials to teach illiterate workers how to use high-tech equipment. Toyota passed up over $150 million more in incentives (to build a $800 million manufacturing plant) to have a workforce that could actually read.

    Notice that in my previous post I did not call all southerners stupid. I just said that the average level of economy and education is lower. It is like saying Americans have more money than Germans. I know that their are alot of Germans with more money than me, but that does not mean my statement is false.

    --
  • I can neither support nor refute your claims about why people wish to immigrate to the United States. But let's assume that you're descriptions and motivations are correct. That it's the social programs that are drawing immigrants who desire a free ride. Isn't the appropriate response then to say that this is an unintended consequence of the social welfare programs and call into question the validity of those programs? It seems to me that continuing to support restrictions on immigration is an attempt to prop up social programs as if they had no consequences.

    If what you're saying is true, that seems to me to be a knock against socialized welfare. Not something that should support restrictions on immigration. Is there something that I'm missing?

    Full Disclosure: I'm a classic liberal (in contrast to a modern liberal) and I'm opposed to restricted immigration. I believe that we live in a country of endowed rights, not government granted rights. Which means that the government can neither give nor take away rights. Our rights have been endowed to us by our creator (using the language of the constitution). One of those endowed rights is the right to free association and to assemble peacably. Which means that Mexicans have it whether they're here or not. So do Chinese, Germans and Finlanders. The difference is that some other governments don't protect those rights, and in some cases, wrongly repress those rights. The US government is constituted on a promise to protect those rights within the boundaries of this country. So that when someone from Mexico or China or Germany or Findland sets foot in this country, our government is required to protect their rights to freely associate with any of us who are already here. Immigration laws are based on the premise that you only have those rights if you're a US citizen. In other words, the US Government grants them to you. I believe that's incorrect. I believe laws restricting immigration are counter to the concept of rights described by the constitution. I believe that all such laws should be overturned.

    One of the impacts of immigration laws is to insulate the voting American public from the negative unintended consequences of social welfare programs. I believe that if the American public felt the full brunt of those unintended consequences, that we would make changes to the detrimental effects of those policies. But as long as those effects are hidden, there's less motivation to change the policies.

    Immigration laws hurt us: they undermine our core values, and they insulate us from the effects of bad policies. I think we would be better off without them.
  • by Pfhreak (662302) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @01:59PM (#16473063)
    A few reasons. Europe is mainly 'full' -- its landmass is less than that of the US IIRC, or darn near close...they have 700+ million, the US just hit 300. Alot of central Europe is mountain region remember, they just don't have the wide open plains like north america.
    Also, Europe is comprised of very old, mature set of societies. Less social and economic mobility; all the land is owned and in use. The US still has large amounts space and sparsely populated cities. The rustbelt has a negative population growth for example.

    Europe has 10.4 M sq km and 710 M people, vs. the US 9.5 M sq. km and 300 M people, so the US has less than half the number of people per square km (or whatever unit of area one choses to use). You're dead on about the US still having large amounts of space. However, if you count Europe as "west of the Ural Mountains" you have some pretty extensive plains in western Russia, and the western US is pretty damn mountainous, speaking as someone who lives within two hours' drive of several ranges in the western US.

    Finally, I think the social objectives are a bit different. Speaking in very broad terms, most European societies are not as materalistic. There's alot of negatives to materialism as a motivator, but it does give your economy a very powerful engine. This creates oppportunity, which in turn attracts immigrants.

    I'm not sure that I buy this. I spent a month there visiting my wife's family last fall, and the societies I saw (mainly England and Sweden) didn't seem any less materialistic than the US. I think you might be mistaking free market, where government regulation of industry is lax, for materilistic. England and Sweden both seemed to have quite a few immigrants. (According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], 13.3% of Sweden's population is foreign.

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