Based on historical decennial censuses and annual population estimates, the U.S. population grew at a slower rate in 2021 than in any other year since the founding of the nation.
This is as a result of the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, as it curtailed immigration, delayed pregnancies and killed hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents.
According to WBRZ, the United States grew by only 0.1%, with only an additional 392,665 added to the U.S. population, from July 2020 to July 2021. The U.S. has been experiencing slow population growth for years but the pandemic exacerbated that trend. This past year was the first time since 1937 that the nation’s population grew by less than 1 million people.
“Population growth has been slowing for years because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population,” said Kristie Wilder, a Census Bureau demographer. “Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in an historically slow pace of growth.”
The population estimates are derived from calculating the number of births, deaths and migration in the U.S. For the first time, international migration surpassed natural increases that come from births outnumbering deaths.
There was a net increase of nearly 245,000 residents from international migration but only around 148,000 from natural increase. Between 2020 and 2021, 33 states saw population increases and 17 states and the District of Columbia lost population.