The U.S. population grew during the coronavirus pandemic at the lowest rate since the nation’s founding, according to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday.
“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,” Census Bureau demographer Kristie Wilder said in a press release. “Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in an historically slow pace of growth.”
The country’s population grew by 0.1 percent, or 392,665 people, to about 331.8 million from July 2020 to July 2021. That time frame marked the first time since 1937 that the population grew by less than a million within a year, and the lowest added number of people since 1900.
The U.S. added almost 245,000 people from international migration but just 148,000 from new births supplanting deaths, marking the first time that migration contributed more to U.S. population growth than births. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, new immigration fell by about half from the previous year.
Over 800,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
“I was expecting low growth but nothing this low,” William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told the Associated Press. “It tells us that this pandemic has had a huge impact on us in all kinds of ways, and now demography.”
Among U.S. states, 33 gained in population while 17 decreased in the number of residents. Texas and Florida saw the highest numerical population gains, while New York and California recorded the highest numerical declines.