U.S. Population Has Grown 20% in Just Two Decades

Posted July 10, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

In 2016, the population of the United States was 323.1 million. This total included 249.5 million adults over the age 18 (77% of the population) as well as 73.6 million children (23% of the population).

Over the last two decades, the nation’s population size has grown by 20% and skewed older in age. Among the 269.4 million Americans in 1996, 74% were adults and 26% were children.

During this same two-decade time frame, population totals increased for all 50 states. The rate of growth, however, varied widely from state to state. For example: West Virginia experienced only a small bump in its population count from 1996 to 2016 (<0.5%) while states like Nevada and Arizona saw their population totals rise substantially — by 76% and 51%, respectively.

Despite every state’s population count increasing, 21 states and the District of Colombia saw their total number of children shrink from 1996 to 2016. Vermont’s child count fell 22% during this time frame and Maine experienced a similar drop, with its child count falling 17%.

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