Report

The 2010s May Have Seen The Slowest Population Growth In U.S. History, Census Data Show

By William Frey

The 2020s are beginning on the heels of a decade that saw considerable demographic stagnation, highlighting important implications for immigration, congressional apportionment, and the country’s future.

The nation’s population growth from 2018 to 2019 grew by a mere 0.48%, according to newly released Census Bureau estimates. This is the lowest annual growth rate since 1918, and caps off a decade that should show the slowest 10-year population growth since the first census was taken in 1790.

One symptom of the aging population is the decade-wide loss in young people under age 18. Between 2010 and 2019, the nation sustained an absolute decline of 1.14 million youth. Some of this change can be attributed to lower fertility rates and the aging into adulthood of the last of the millennial population, though census projections show older populations—especially those over age 65—will display far higher rates of growth than youth.