Substantial population loss in some of the nation’s largest and most vibrant cities was the primary reason 2021 was the slowest year of population growth in U.S. history, new Census data shows.
Although some of the fastest growing regions in the country continued to boom, the gains were nearly erased by stark losses last year in counties that encompass the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas.
The pandemic played a role, as the number of people dying rose substantially and many Americans left cities for smaller places. But experts say that skyrocketing housing costs were also to blame, and that some of the changes are a continuation of fundamental shifts in American demographics that began before the pandemic, such as the steadily falling birthrate and steep drop in immigration.
slowest population growth year on record, with the nation growing by just 0.1 percent.
Population loss, particularly of working-age adults and their children, can separate extended families and lead to funding cuts and labor shortages in schools, health care facilities and other services that are essential to the residents who remain.
decline in fertility started a decade ago during the Great Recession, and reflects the ways in which women and men of the Millennial generation are prioritizing education and work, delaying marriage and parenthood, and struggling to gain their economic footing as they deal with student debt, slow wage growth and steep housing costs.