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

Posted July 10, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
US Population Grows20 Percent blogpost 2018

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 Colum­bia 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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