Special Report

The Biggest Population Milestones Likely to Occur This Century

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1. 2028
> Milestone: One in every five Americans will be 65 years or older

The 65-and-older cohort will increase from its current 17.7% share of the U.S. population to 20.0% in 2028.

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2. 2028
> Milestone: The foreign-born share of the U.S. population will surpass its historical high of 14.8% in 1850

While the foreign-born share of the U.S. population fell in the first half of the 20th century, it is projected to continue to rise throughout the 21st century and reach 14.9% by 2028 — the largest share since 1850.

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3. 2030
> Milestone: Immigration will take over natural increase as the primary driver of U.S. population growth

Historically natural population change has contributed more to population growth than net immigration — 0.40% growth due to natural increase versus 0.30% due to net migration in 2021. By 2030, however, growth due to net migration will surpass that of natural increase, contributing to a 0.30% increase in the U.S. population, while natural growth contributes a 0.29% increase.

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4. 2034
> Milestone: Older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history

As the baby boom generation ages and birth rates decline, the population of adults 65 years and over will reach 77.0 million by 2034, outnumbering the under 18 population of 76.5 million.

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5. 2045
> Milestone: Nigeria will surpass the United States as the third largest country in the world

The United States will fall from third to fourth largest country by 2045, while Nigeria will rise from the sixth largest country to the third largest.

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