Slowest U.S. Population Growth on Record

By at 22 December, 2021, 3:12 pm



by Raymond J. Keating –

A growing population is a positive in so many different ways, including on the economy front with more entrepreneurs, producers, workers and consumers, along with increased dynamism and innovation. A growing population generally goes hand in hand with a growing economy.

Unfortunately, the news from the U.S. Census Bureau on the U.S. population for 2021 was not positive.

Lowest Annual Growth Rate Since the Nation’s Founding

The U.S. population grew at a meager 0.1 percent in 2021, which was the lowest annual growth rate since the nation’s founding. Among contributing factors were:

● Decreased net international migration (people moving into and out of the country)

● Low fertility rates

● And, increased mortality due to COVID-19

However, at the same time, from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, as poor as international immigration was, net international migration (244,622) outdistanced the natural increase (148,043) in population for the first time.

State Population and Migration

As for the states, among the top four most populous, the longtime exit from California and New York to other states continued in 2021, as did the moving from other parts of the nation into Texas And Florida.

● California experienced a 0.7 percent decline in its population in 2021. That included the largest decline in net domestic migration (people moving between states) of any state (-367,299).

● New York’s population suffered the largest decline in both numeric (-319,020) and percentage (-1.6 percent) terms. It also ranked second worst, just behind California, in terms of net domestic migration (-352,185).

● Texas had the largest population gain at 310,288, which included the second largest gain in terms of net domestic migration (+170,307).

● And Florida tallied up the second largest population gain at 211,196, and that included the largest gain in terms of net domestic migration (+220,890).

Key Takeaways

First, states with tremendous governmental costs are at a severe competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and keeping population, while states that offer positive policy climates (such as Texas and Florida imposing no personal income taxes, with Texas also not taxing corporate income) attract population.

Second, international immigration is vital for U.S. entrepreneurship, for meeting labor needs, for sustainability of various programs that U.S. voters want (e.g., Social Security), and for overall dynamism.

The model is straightforward: Make the U.S., and its states, attractive places to live, work, and start up and invest in businesses, and people will seek out opportunity and a better life accordingly.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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