This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
This week, the national population clock at the United States Census Bureau
reached 300 million. This is only an estimate -- the next official count is
But the Census Bureau says the United States is gaining one new
person every 11 seconds. Government experts based this on an estimate of
one birth every seven seconds and one death every 15 seconds.
They also considered immigration. The Census Bureau says an immigrant enters
the country every 31 seconds.
The United States is the third most populous country in the world, although
it is still much smaller than China and India.
Some hospitals claimed they had the 300 millionth baby. Yet the 300 millionth
person in the United States could have been an immigrant. Experts say about 55
percent of new population growth has resulted from immigration, including the
children of immigrants.
Today 12 percent of the population is foreign-born. The leading place of
origin is Mexico. In the past, it was Europe.
America's population reached 100 million in 1915. It reached 200 million
just over fifty years later, in 1967.
But the country has taken less than 40 years to reach 300 million
people. And researchers expect a population of 400 million in even less time.
At that point, in 2043, non-Hispanic whites could make up just over half the
In 1967, more than 80 percent of Americans were white. Less than five
percent were of Spanish ancestry.
Today, Hispanics -- either American-born or foreign-born -- make up
almost 15 percent of the population.
About 13 percent of the population is black, and about five percent is
of Asian ancestry.
The population growth in the United States is unusual among big industrial
nations. Japan and some European countries expect their populations to decrease
over the next 20 to 30 years.
America is known as a nation of immigrants. But today, as at other times in
its history, immigration is also a hot
issue. There is debate especially about the millions who are in
the country illegally.
Reporters were invited to watch the Census Bureau clock hit 300 million
Tuesday morning. There was no big ceremony, although bureau employees later held
a small event of their own at their offices near Washington.
President Bush released a statement. He said the new population mark is, in
his words, "further proof that the American Dream remains as bright and hopeful
In 1915, the most popular names for babies in the United States were John and
Mary. This year they are Jacob and Emily.
IN THE NEWS, in VOA Special English, was written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve
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