By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
The United States will enter 2010 with a population of more than 308.4 million, according to a U.S. Census Bureau estimate. (Actually, their estimate is 308,400,408--they're nothing if not precise.) That's a 2.6 million person increase--0.9 percent--from their estimate entering 2009. Further, they estimate one new birth every eight seconds and one death every 12 seconds, so in the time it took you to read this far, there have been three births and two deaths. Those figures are unchanged from the start of 2009. The rate at which immigrants enter the country has changed, marginally, down to one every 37 seconds in 2010 from one every 36 seconds in 2009. Make of that what you will. Overall, the Census folks figure that those trends add up to one person being added to the U.S. population every 14 seconds. (Net, I suppose.)
Of course the operative word here is estimate. This year we get to move past estimates and get real data to crunch, when the bureau conducts the decennial census. And those figures not only affect the distribution of congressional seats but also of $400 billion in federal funds to state, local and tribal governments each year. So when you get the form (only 10 questions this year) remember to fill it out.