According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the land of the free and the home of the brave officially hit 300 million at 7:46 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 16, 2006.
The Census Bureau, which uses administrative records and surveys to estimate monthly averages for the births, deaths, and net immigration that occur between its decennial surveys, has a "population clock" that estimates a birth every 7 seconds, a death every 13 seconds, and a new immigrant every 31 seconds, for a total of one new American every 11 seconds.
The growth rate of the United States is less than one percent, with the population increasing by about 2.8 million people per year. Around 40 percent of our growth comes from immigration — the Census Bureau includes illegal immigrants in its official population estimates — while the rest comes from births outnumbering deaths.
America's population reached 100 million in 1915, and 200 million in 1967. During the last 39 years in which the U.S. population increased by 100 million souls, the entire world population grew from 3.5 billion to 6.5 billion.
In its population growth, the U.S.A. stands alone among industrialized nations, having grown by 13% during the 1990s, which is five times the average of other developed countries.
We are the world's third most populous nation, behind the burgeoning economic superpowers of China (1.31 billion) and India (1.09 billion).
According to Census Bureau estimates, the U.S. population is expected to reach 400 million by 2043.
When America's population reached 100 million in 1915, the milestone was celebrated as a sign of the nation's economic and geopolitical might in the world.
When our population surpassed 200 million in 1967, cheers rang through the lobby of the Commerce Department, and President Lyndon B. Johnson's celebratory speech was interrupted by many bursts of enthusiastic applause. Life magazine found a baby boy born in Atlanta at the exact moment, and dispatched photographers and reporters to anoint him as the 200 millionth American.
Now that we've reached the 300 million mark, Census Bureau employees observed the occasion with cake and punch.
Today's population growth is driven by immigration almost as much as by births and many are speculating that the 300 millionth American did not arrive in a maternity ward, but from across the Mexican border.