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A NATION OF 300 MILLION In 1800, the US population was just over 5 million; in 1860, 31 million; in 1900, 76 million; in 1950, 151 million; in 2000, 281 million; and as of October 2006, 300 million (1). By 2040, our population is predicted to be 400 million. The USA has added 100 million people since 1967. Only China and India have larger populations. The USA is growing faster than any other industrialized nation. The biggest driver of our growth is immigration--legal and illegal. About 53% of the 100 million extra Americans are recent immigrants or their descendants. Without them, the USA would have about 250 million people. Today, 15% of the US population is Hispanic and 5% is Asian compared with 5% Hispanic and 1% Asian in 1970. The newcomers have transformed an overwhelmingly white population of largely European descent into a multicultural society that reflects every continent on the globe. Some newcomers arrived as war refugees. Most came in search of better opportunities. Once here, they had more babies than nonimmigrants, and as a consequence our birth rate's higher than that of Europe and Japan. The average life expectancy at birth today is 78 years. The percentage of the population [greater than or equal to] 65 is now just over 12%. The median age is now 36 years, up from 28 years in 1970. In the USA, we have 1 birth every 7 seconds, 1 death every 13 seconds, and 1 immigrant every 31 seconds. The US population increases by 8500 people every day!

Health, Mind & Body
October 1
The Baylor University Medical Center
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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