US population to hit 300 million
Washington - A baby boy of Latino heritage, born in Los Angeles on Tuesday, might well be the 300 millionth American.
The 200 millionth, a Chinese-American lawyer in Atlanta, says he'll be very relieved.
The US population will top 300 million at about 07:46 EDT
on Tuesday, according to the US Census Bureau, nearly 39
years after the 200 million mark was reached on November 20, 1967.
"The demographers will tell you I clearly didn't fit the
statistics of what ... the 200 millionth should have been,"
said Robert Woo, who drew a media spotlight as No. 200 million
when he was born.
Now a Harvard-educated attorney, Woo said he would be
relieved to pass the torch to No. 300 million, but added that
no one person could personify the US population.
"It's such a diverse country that it would be impossible to
find a typical or average state, town or neighbourhood that
would represent the country - trying to identify an individual
would be just impossible," Woo said in a telephone interview.
It is possible to make an educated guess at who the 300
millionth American will be, said demographer William Frey of
the Brookings Institution.
"I predict it's going to be a Latino baby boy, born in Los
Angeles to a Mexican immigrant mother," Frey said by
This prediction makes sense, Frey said, because about half
of US population growth is due to Hispanics, the biggest
gains in the Hispanic population are in Los Angeles, more boys
are born than girls and the US population is growing more due
to natural increase than through immigration.
"In theory, it could be anybody who crosses a border, who
comes off a plane as a new immigrant or is born anywhere in the
United States but if you have to put the odds on high
probability, I would say my guess is pretty good," Frey said.
Alarm from environmentalists
The 300 million mark has prompted alarm from some
environmentalists, who question whether the country's natural
resources can support additional population.
The United States is the only major industrial nation whose
population is substantially increasing. Only China and India
have more people.
Frey said it was important to prepare for future growth.
"I think that it's much easier to project ahead the
population of the United States and get scared about it than it
is to project ahead what kinds of scientific and technological
innovations will allow us to support that population growth,"
US population only reached 100 million in 1915, when
Woodrow Wilson was president and the cost of a new home was
$3 200 - $64 158 in 2006 dollars, according to the Census.
Life expectancy at birth was 54.5 years, compared with 77.8
years now. Fewer than one in four women - 23% - worked
outside the home, compared with 59% in 2006. The most
popular baby names were John and Mary; they are now Jacob and
US population is expected to top 400 million in 2043.