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Immigration is expected to be the biggest driver of that population change.
The projections released Thursday are the farthest look into the future the Census Bureau has estimated the U.S. population, which currently sits at 333 million. By 2100, the total population is projected to increase by just under 10% from 2022.
“In an ever-changing world, understanding population dynamics is crucial for shaping policies and planning resources,” Sandra Johnson, a demographer at the Census Bureau, said in a news release.
The Census Bureau estimates that the population could reach as high as 435 million in a high-immigration scenario or drop to 319 million if immigration is low. In a zero-immigration scenario, the United States could lose a third of its population by the end of the century and drop to 226 million.
The projections were also built using using assumptions about future births and deaths.
“The U.S. has experienced notable shifts in the components of population change over the last five years,” Johnson explained. “Some of these, like the increases in mortality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, are expected to be short-term while others, including the declines in fertility that have persisted for decades, are likely to continue into the future. Incorporating additional years of data on births, deaths and international migration into our projections process resulted in a slower pace of population growth through 2060 than was previously projected.”
Panelists on “The Hill on NewsNation” said Thursday the new estimates may provide an impetus for Congress to achieve a long-elusive goal of passing comprehensive immigration reform.
“If we want Social Security and other things to be viable, we’re going to have to have people working and paying for that, and so it is a problem if we don’t have smart immigration policies that Democrats and Republican largely agree on,” former Obama White House official Johanna Maska said.
Brad Howard, principal at the Vogel Group, said conversations around immigration reform need to include more than just border security.
“We’ve got to look at business visas, education visas, and those types of things to encourage an immigration workforce that reflects the needs of Americans while we get our own folks up to the point where they can take those jobs,” Howard said. “That allows us to stay ahead of the curve, allows us to compete globally.”