U.S. Demography in a Nutshell
As a short course in the demography of the United States we offer two charts, each accompanied by an exposition or page of explanation and commentary.
There is a fair amount of detail. But if you take 30 minutes to digest this you will understand more about U.S. demography than 99 percent of environmentalists, natural and social scientists, professors, politicians and journalists.
The first chart shows how the size of the U.S. population has increased during the period 1930-2012, and how its key determinants -- family size (or total fertility rate, TFR), legal immigration rates, and amnesties -- have changed over the same period. Also shown is how Congress and the White House have repeatedly increased immigration rates while national commissions on population and sustainability have repeatedly recommended they be reduced.
The second chart shows the projected growth of the U.S. population from 2000 to 2050 under seven different possible immigration scenarios. These scenarios range from ones assuming large increases in annual net immigration (= no. immigrants minus no. emigrants) to those assuming large decreases in immigration. As large changes in mean U.S. family size are improbable during this period of time, future U.S. population size will be determined almost entirely by immigration rates. This chart will be revised in the near future to make use of the most recent projections by the U.S. Census Bureau and other organizations.
These charts, each printed with its corresponding exposition on the back, can be used as a basis for informed discussion of population issues in high school, college and university courses, in seminar presentations, and in discussion forums of environmental, scientific, and political organizations.