(September 2006) The United States is set to reach a milestone in October. Joining China and India, it will become the third country to be home to at least 300 million people.

These are some ways the nation has changed since reaching 200 million in 1967:

Women in the Work Force

  • Women are now more likely to work than not. The percentage of women ages 16 and older in the labor force rose from 41 percent to 59 percent between 1967 and 2006.1

Foreign-Born

  • The share of the U.S. population that is foreign-born rose from 5 percent to 12 percent between 1967 and 2006.2 But the foreign-born still make up a lower share now than between 1860 and 1920. During that time, the share of foreign-born fluctuated between 13 percent and 15 percent.3
  • The leading country of origin for the foreign-born was Italy in 1967. Now it’s Mexico.4
  • The foreign-born are now more geographically dispersed throughout the country. In 1990, only 10 percent of counties had populations that were 5 percent or greater foreign-born. By 2000, 20 percent of counties had populations that were at least 5 percent foreign-born.5

Growing Older

  • The United States is aging. The number of people ages 65 and older rose from 19.1 million to 36.8 million between 1967 and 2006.6
  • Life expectancy at birth climbed from 70.5 years to 77.8 years between 1967 and 2006.7

Households

  • Between 1967 and 2005, the average household size declined from 3.3 to 2.6 people.8
  • The proportion of households consisting of one person living alone increased from 17 percent to 26 percent between 1970 and 2005. Large households became less common: In 2005, 10 percent of the nation’s households contained five or more people, down from 21 percent in 1970.9

Suburbanization

  • Between 1970 and 2000, the percent of total population living in the suburbs of metropolitan areas rose from 38 percent to 50 percent.10

Safer Roads

  • America’s roads are safer. In 2003, America averaged 1.5 traffic fatalities per every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from 5 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 1967.11

References

  1. U.S. Census Bureau, “Special Edition: 300 Million,” accessed online at www.census.gov, on Sept. 15, 2006.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, “Special Edition: 300 Million.”
  3. Linda Jacobsen, 2006 World Population Data Sheet (webcast), accessed online at www.prb.org, on Aug. 28, 2006.
  4. U.S. Census Bureau, “Special Edition: 300 Million.”
  5. Linda Jacobsen, 2006 World Population Data Sheet (webcast).
  6. U.S. Census Bureau, “Special Edition: 300 Million.”
  7. U.S. Census Bureau, “Special Edition: 300 Million.”
  8. U.S. Census Bureau, “Special Edition: 300 Million.”
  9. U.S. Census Bureau, Americans Marrying Older, Living Alone More, See Households Shrinking, Census Bureau Reports, accessed online at www.census.gov, on Aug. 24, 2006.
  10. U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports: Demographic Trends in the 20 th Century: figure 1-15.
  11. U.S. Census Bureau, “Special Edition: 300 Million.”