United States Population 2018
According to the US Census Bureau's population clock, the estimated 2018 United States population (February 2018) is 327.16 million. This is a bit higher than the 326.77 million estimated by the United Nations.
By population, the United States of America is the third largest country in the world, falling far behind China (1.4 billion) and India (1.25 billion). Its most populous states are California (39.5 million) and Texas (27 million), and its most populous city is New York City (8.5 million).
Largest state in the United States
The largest state in the USA by population is California, which is estimated to be home to just over 39.5 million people. If California was a country, it would be the 36th most populous in the world, slightly larger than Iraq and Poland. Its economy would be the eighth largest in the world, with roughly the same GDP as Italy, a European country of 61 million people. Interestingly, although California is the largest state in the United States of America, it isn't the largest state in the Americas - that honor goes to Brazil's state of Sao Paulo with over 45 million residents.
Largest city in the United States
The largest city in the USA is New York City. The city's population is estimated at an impressive 8.5 million, which makes New York City larger than the second and third most populous cities in the United States (Los Angeles and Chicago) combined.
For much of the early 20th century, New York City was the largest city in the world. The stunning growth of cities elsewhere in the world means that today, New York is not even in the top 20, when ranking by city proper. It is, however, the world's second largest city by GDP - its nominal GDP of $1.55 trillion puts it second only to the Japanese city of Tokyo.
United States Census 2010
The United States census is held once every ten years, to count the number of people in the country along with gathering basic information, including age, sex, and race. The last census was held in 2010, and the next census will be held in 2020.
The information collected in the census is used for many purposes. The first purpose is to ensure that each seat in Congress represents roughly the same amount of people. National and State governments also use the information to plan services - for example, if they know that the population in an area is growing rapidly, they can plan to build more housing, schools, and hospitals. Every year, the Census Bureau also releases annual population estimates. Statistical modelling methods are applied to the most recent census data to give an up-to-date picture of how the population of America changes between censuses.
United States Population History
Nobody is sure what the population of the Americas was before Columbus arrived in 1492. Estimates vary wildly, but it is commonly accepted that the indigenous population of the Americas (the continents of North and South America combined) was between 50 million and 100 million in the 1490s. That includes approximately 15 million people living in the Aztec Empire and around 6 million Inca. The population of North America at the time is equally uncertain and has been estimated to be between 5 and 15 million.
Indigenous populations were hit hard by the arrival of European settlers. They were attacked by diseases including smallpox, and some historians believe that disease killed over 50% of the population. Even more were killed by wars, massacres, and resettlement programs. The Native American population of the United States reached a low point in the early 20th century but has since been gradually increasing.
Formal censuses were not carried out during the colonial era, but records show that the colonial population grew from a shaky start of just 3,800 in 1610 to over 1 million in 1750. The population grew rapidly moving forward, and when the first official census was held in 1790 shortly after independence, the population had grown to nearly 4 million.
United States Population Projections
The population of the US continues to grow today, driven by a high level of immigration. The latest data from the Census Bureau shows that US population growth is running at between 0.7% and 0.9% per year. A 2015 Census Bureau Report suggests that growth will slow somewhat, and projects a 2060 population of 417 million, with the country crossing the 400 million threshold in 2051.
The United Nations projects a lower total, estimating a population of just over 400 million in 2060.
The country's racial profile will be vastly different, and although whites will remain the single largest racial group in the the US, they will no longer be a majority by 2055 according to Pew Research Center. Growth in the Hispanic and Asian populations is predicted to almost triple over the next 40 years. By 2055, the breakdown is estimated to be 48% White, 24% Hispanic, 14% Asian, and 13% Black.
As of 2015, 14% of the United States' population is foreign born, compared to just 5% in 1965. Nearly 39 million immigrants have come to the US since 1965, with most coming from Asia and Latin America. The 2015 Census Report predicts that the percentage of the US population that is foreign born will continue to increase, reaching 19% by 2060. This increase in the foreign-born population will account for a large share of the overall population growth.
The average US citizen of 2060 is likely to be older than the average citizen of today, and almost one in four people will be 65 or older. At the same time, the percentage of people who are working age (18-64) is likely to fall from 63% today to 52% in 2060. This will have huge implications for society as younger people work to fund the pensions and healthcare of the older generation.
United States Quality of Life
The average life expectancy of a person born in the United States in 2017 is 79.5 years. As is common in most countries in the world, US women have a higher life expectancy than men - women born in 2017 live for 81.8 years on average, while the life expectancy of men is just 77.1 years.
Compared to the rest of the world, using data compiled by the United Nations, the United States is only 39th in the world when it comes to life expectancy. Interestingly, both the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have higher life expectancies than those born in the continental US. Hawaii is the state with the highest life expectancy (81.3 years) and Mississippi is the state with the lowest life expectancy (74.9 years).
Although the United States has the largest overall economy in the world, it does not have the highest GDP per capita. With a GDP per capita of $55,800, the United States ranks 19th in the world, falling behind small countries like Luxembourg that have economies based around servicing international finance, as well as trailing major countries such as Australia. Average salary, calculated in 2014, is very similar at $51,939. The state with the highest GDP per capita is North Dakota ($72,719) and the state with the lowest GDP per capita is Mississippi ($34,784.)
Despite having a high GDP per capita and a healthy life expectancy, the United States ranks only 14th in the most recent World Happiness Report.
The language most commonly spoken in the United States is English, which is the main language of 82.9% of American residents. Spanish is the main language of 12.85% of residents and Chinese is the main language of 0.64%.
Native American languages are the main language of 0.9% of residents. There is a wide variety of different Native American languages, many of which are on the endangered list. The most widely spoken is Southern Quechua, used by around 7 million people.
Although legal documents are normally written in English, the United States has no official lanaguage at the federal level. At the state level most, but not all states have English as their official language. Hawaii is the only state to have two official languages - English and Hawaiian.
The cultural diversity of the United States is no more evident than in the wide range of religious beliefs practiced across the country. While the Protestant/Christian tradition is the clear majority at 48.9%, there are many varieties of Christianity, from the more conservative Baptists and Evangelicals to the generally more liberal Episcopalians and Quakers. A sizeable proportion of the population (23%) also identify as Catholic; again, the views of these individuals vary widely and many are likely to consider themselves to be Catholic while only nominally practicing that faith.
There are a number of substantial minority faiths in the United States. Judaism is the religion of 2.1% of the population, but Jewish culture in the United States is highly visible, with Jewish holidays such as Hanukkah widely celebrated. In addition, many well-known writers, academics and television personalities have Jewish backgrounds. Other minority, yet still widely practiced faiths, include Islam (0.8%) and Mormonism (1.8%), while smaller numbers identify as Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Wiccans, and many other varieties of religious faiths.
It is also worth noting that a significant minority of 18.2% identifies as having no religion or as Atheist/Agnostic. Young people make up the majority of this group and its numbers are consistently increasing. However, the freedom to practice one's religion is among the most important rights in the United States, to the extent that it is enshrined in the US Constitution. Therefore, while in the years ahead, the religious demographics of the United States are likely to continue to shift, the majority of the population will almost certainly wish to protect the rights of those of all faiths and none.
Components of Population Change
|One birth every 8 seconds|
|One death every 12 seconds|
|One net migrant every 35 seconds|
|Net gain of one person every 14 seconds|