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The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States Skip to content

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The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States


Since 1950, the United States population has more than doubled in size. The Congressional Research Service wrote this report to highlight key demographic changes that have or will occur within this larger population, as well as to provide future policy considerations.

Key Points

This report identifies three major qualitative changes in the demographic makeup of the United States and supports those claims with research-based statistics. The three trends identified by the report are the United States is getting bigger, the United States is getting older, and the United States is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.

Other report highlights include:

  1. The growing United States population is further explained by examining three main factors: consistent birth rates over the past 40 years, declining mortality rates (increased life expectancy), and a positive net immigration rate.
  2. By 2050, just over 20 percent of Americans will be age 65 or older, up from just 12.4 percent in 2000. The 80 and older age group will account for 7.4 percent of the population.
  3. Major racial and ethnic demographic changes include sharp increases in the populations of Hispanic (30 percent of the overall population in 2050), Asian (up 220 percent by 2050), and “Other Race” (up 223 percent by 2050) individuals.
  4. The report concludes with general policy considerations regarding retirement, income security, the federal budget, health care, senior care, and immigration.

How to Use

The United States population is experiencing major demographic changes, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Policy makers can utilize this information as a frame for future policy considerations, while businesses and local officials can become more educated about the changes going on around them.

View full report: The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States (PDF – 531 KB)

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