|US World's 3rd Most Populous Nation|
Thanks to a 13 percent population increase during the 1990s, the United States remained the third most populous nation in the world, according to a Feb. 2002 report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Census 2000 report, The United States in International Context [.pdf document], shows the United States, with a population of 281 million in 2000, ranking third behind China's 1.3 billion and India's 1 billion. The total world population in 2000 was estimated at 6.1 billion.
According to Peter Way, head of the Census Bureau's International Programs Center, "The size of a country's total population tells only a small part of its demographic story. A country's population growth rate and its age-sex composition indicate the challenges it faces in providing health care for its children and elderly, providing education to its youth, providing employment opportunities for its young adults and supporting its elderly population."
The United States' population of persons under age 15 ranked fourth among all nations and represented 3 percent of the world's total under-15 population. With 8 percent of the world's total elderly population, the U.S. ranked third.
Classified as "low-fertility" countries, the United States and several other developed nations saw declines in populations of children under age 5. A trend which Census Bureau analysts predict will challenge those countries with increasing elderly populations and shrinking labor forces over the coming decades.
The U.S.'s population growth of 13 percent during the 1990s was five times that of the 2.5 percent of all other industrialized countries combined. Census Bureau demographers attributed this to substantial immigration into the U.S. along with lower fertility rates in other industrialized countries.
Other countries showing large population gains during the 1990s included: India - 19 percent; China - 11 percent; Nigeria - 33 percent; and Indonesia - 19 percent. Nearly half of the world's total population growth during the 1990s occurred in the U.S., India, China, Nigeria and Indonesia.
Other highlights from the census report:
Though it has only about one-fourth the total population of India, the United States has more people age 80 and over.
The United States has more than twice the population of Nigeria but fewer children under age 5.
Over the next quarter century, the world's population is expected to grow by 29 percent, with nearly all of the increase taking place in developing countries. The U.S. population is expected to grow 23 percent by 2025.
By 2025, the number of people age 65 and over throughout the world will nearly double, while the number of children will increase just 3 percent. In the United States, the elderly population is expected to jump nearly 80 percent, and working-age adults and children, 15 percent.
The United States in International Context includes data from the Census Bureau's international database, which covers 227 countries with populations of 5,000 or more.
The full report can be viewed or downloaded from:
(You will need the free Adobe Acrobat .pdf file reader to view or download the report.)