Population: Headed Downward

Headed Downward

In the 199 years since the first national census was taken, the population of the U.S. has grown from about 4 million in 1790 to nearly 247 million today. Last week the U.S. Census Bureau predicted the eventual end of that era of uninterrupted increase. In 50 years, the bureau forecast, America's population could peak at 302 million and then begin a slow decline before stabilizing at 292 million in 2080.

With the baby-boom generation growing older, said the bureau, the number of women in their prime childbearing age has already begun to decline. But a smaller work force does not...

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