The U.S. population may peak and then start a decline later this century if immigration trends remain as they are now, according to new projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The U.S. population is projected to peak by around 2080 with close to 370 million people. By 2100, the population is expected to have grown by about 9.7% above 2022 levels.
But changes to immigration levels between now and 2100 may swing U.S. population numbers by up to 209 million people.
In a high-immigration scenario, there may be as many as 435 million people in the U.S. A low-immigration scenario would peak the population at around 346 million in 2043, and decline to 319 million by 2100.
If U.S. borders were to close completely to incoming migrants, resulting in a zero-immigration scenario, the U.S. population may start to decline in 2024, down to a total of some 226 million people in 2100.
The census projections are based on assumptions around birth and death rates, as well as net immigration flows. The bureau tries to account for both short-term influences such as mortality increases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and long-term influences such as decadeslong declines in fertility rates.
This change in fertility means the bureau projects there will eventually be more people 65 years old or older compared to children under 18 years of age. This could happen as early as 2028, depending on other factors like immigration flows.
The median age for the U.S. population is projected to increase in all of the scenarios the Census Bureau measured.
In 2022, the median U.S. age was 38.9 years old. By 2100, the median age could range from 46.5 to 53.6 years old.
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