- (Photo: Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly)
When the clock strikes midnight this Saturday, the U.S. population will have hit 312.8 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Is the nation's population in danger of getting out of control?
In 2006, Jack Martin and Stanley Fogel of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) wrote a report titled "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050: Four Immigration Scenarios." Martin and Fogel predicted that, if the issue of illegal immigration remained unchecked, "we likely will be facing the prospect of a population in 2050 of half a billion people."
At the same time, FAIR predicted that, "If current proposals to increase immigration, give legal status to those currently here illegally, and create a new guest worker program were adopted," the country’s population would reach one billion people by the end of the century.
FAIR is a nonprofit consisting of “concerned citizens who share a common belief that our nation's immigration policies must be reformed to serve the national interest,” according to the organization’s website.
Based on figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. is less than 200 million people away from hitting FAIR's 2050 figure.
When the clock strikes midnight this Saturday, the U.S. population will have hit 312.8 million people (312,780,968, exactly), according to the agency.
That number means an increase of 2,250,129 people (0.7 percent) since New Year’s Day 2011, and an increase of 4,035,430 people (1.3 percent) since April 1, 2010. In Jan. 2012, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the United States and one death every 12 seconds, the Census Bureau projects.
At the same time, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 46 seconds in Jan. 2012.
The combination of births, deaths and net international migration results in an increase in the total U.S. population of one person every 17 seconds, the agency wrote in a statement.
The United States is the third most populated country in the world, after China and India. But is it overpopulated?
Yes, “in the sense that we are consuming our national ecological resources at an unsustainable rate,” according to the FAIR’s research.
The United States has a national environmental policy but no national population policy, the agency claims on its website.
It is crucial to make that subject a part of the national debate on immigration, Eric Ruark, FAIR's Director of Research, told The Christian Post Thursday.
"Most of the population growth comes from immigration," either directly from immigrants, or children of immigrants, Ruark told CP. The question is what is the limit in population the U.S. can reach, he added. And politicians are not eager to raise that question. Exceeding the maximum population number, whatever that figure may be, means some serious problems with U.S. resource consumption, Ruark told CP.
But immigration is not the whole of the issue.
On Oct. 31, the world's population reached 7 billion, causing many critics to express concern about issues like poverty and hunger in third-world countries, family planning and contraception. Population control is, for that reason, also a part of a greater discourse within the Christian community. Calls for population control come with ethical implications in addition to economic and environmental ones.
Still, some Christians believe talk of the world becoming overpopulated is overblown.
"The myth of overpopulation first put forth by Malthus, coupled with Darwinian theories that promote propagation of the 'fit' and reduction of the 'unfit,' has been instrumental in legitimizing abortion, forced sterilization, government subsidized contraception, and, in the most extreme cases, eugenics as practiced by the Nazis and others," S. Michael Craven wrote in an op-ed for The Christian Post in June. "In every case these false notions undermine God’s commandment to 'multiply' and further serve to undermine the intrinsic value of every human as being made in the image of God."