FALLING POPULATIONS: Census estimates say more than 1 in 3 U.S. counties are dying off. Data show 1,135 of the nation's 3,143 counties are now experiencing "natural decrease," where deaths exceed births as 70 million baby boomers get older.
WIDE AREAS: The areas of natural decrease stretch from industrial areas near Pittsburgh and Cleveland to the vineyards outside San Francisco to the rural areas of the Great Plains. A common theme is a waning local economy. Maine and West Virginia were the only two entire states where deaths exceed births.
IMMIGRATION HELPS: The U.S. population grew by just 0.75 percent last year, boosted by immigration and relatively higher births among mostly younger migrants from Latin America and Asia. Without new immigrants, metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis would have posted flat or negative population growth.
- Politics & Government
- Immigration Issues