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US Population Reaches 300 Million Today, Ranks Third in World

The United States population will hit 300 million people today, the US Census Bureau estimates. The US currently ranks third in the world for population size after China and India, reports PlanetWire. Larger population numbers are attributed to factors such as births outnumbering deaths and immigration, both legal and illegal. About 40 percent of US population growth comes from immigration, according to the The Discovery Channel.

The nation’s rapid growth – at a rate of approximately one person every eleven seconds – and extraordinary consumption severely impacts the health of the environment, National Geographic News reports. While the US only has five percent of the world’s population, it uses about a quarter of the earth’s resources. With each American producing five pounds of trash per day and using water at a rate three times higher than the world average, the growing US population is depleting the world’s resources much faster than any other country.

According to PlanetWire, the rate of population growth in the US is also increasing. It took 139 years, from 1776 to 1915, before the country reached its first 100 million people. Fifty-two years later, the population reached 200 million, and it has taken only 39 years to reach 300 million. It is expected that the US will have 400 million Americans in just 37 years.

Sources:

PlanetWire 10/12/06; National Geographic News 10/16/06; The Associated Press 10/16/06