Population growth in the United States hit the lowest rate since the nation’s founding during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday, the United States grew by only 0.1% from July 2020 through July 2021.
During that time frame, the US population grew by just 392,665 people — the first time growing by less than a million since 1937.
“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 about 148,000 from new births outnumbering deaths,” the Associated Press reports.
The report added that “in more than two dozen states, most notably Florida, deaths outnumbered births. Deaths exceeded births in Florida by more than 45,000 people, but the state’s saving grace was a migration gain of more than 259,000 people, the nation’s highest.”
William Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s metropolitan policy program, Brookings Metro, told the AP that he believes the low birth rate means that the US needs to bring in more younger workers from foreign nations.
According to the report, Frey said that “once there’s a handle on the pandemic, the U.S. may eventually see a decrease in deaths, but population growth likely won’t bounce back to what it has been in years past because of fewer births. That will increase the need for immigration by younger workers whose taxes can support programs such as Social Security.”
“We have an aging population and that means fewer women in child-bearing ages,” Frey said. “We see younger people putting off having children and they’re going to have fewer children.”
Linda Kahn, a professor at New York University, told the outlet that she believes the problem is not about migration, but the lack of support for mothers.
“COVID really was a stress test of our whole system and how it fails to support women and families,” Kahn said. “Women were much harder hit in the pandemic. They lost their jobs at greater rates and had to give up their jobs, often to do home-schooling. The pressures on women were enormous and there’s really no safety net in the U.S.”
Kahn co-authored a study which found that nearly half of the women in New York City who were trying to get pregnant before the pandemic began gave up within the first few months of COVID’s arrival in the US.