The Housing Chronicles Blog: 135 million more people in the U.S. by 2050 -- and they gotta live somewhere!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

135 million more people in the U.S. by 2050 -- and they gotta live somewhere!

The Pew Research Center has recently released a report on U.S. population growth between now and the year 2050, showing a total population of 438 million (up from about 303 million today) and a tripling of the Hispanic population. Another age group expected to grow quickly will be aging baby boomers, all of whom will be 65 or older by 2030. Of course this will have important ramifications for builders of new homes, such as higher bedroom counts and more flexible living and entertainment spaces for Hispanic buyers as well as the spectrum of housing oriented towards seniors (i.e., active adults, independent living facilities, skilled nursing homes, etc.):

The projections show that by 2050:

•Nearly one in five Americans will have been born outside the USA vs. one in eight in 2005. Sometime between 2020 and 2025, the percentage of foreign-born will surpass the historic peak reached a century ago during the last big immigration wave. New immigrants and their children and grandchildren born in the USA will account for 82% of the population increase from 2005 to 2050.

•Whites who are not Hispanic, now two-thirds of the population, will become a minority when their share drops to 47%. They made up 85% of the population in 1960.

•Hispanics, already the largest minority group, will more than double their share of the population to 29%.

•Blacks will remain 13% of the population. Asians will go to 9% from 5%.

•The gap between the number of working-age people and the children and seniors who depend on them will widen as boomers age. There will be 72 young and elderly for every 100 people of working age by 2050 compared with 59 in 2005. The gap would widen more if immigration slows because immigrants tend to be of working-age, the report said.

The projections are based on detailed assumptions about births, deaths and immigration levels based on recent trends. Those trends can change. For example, a new immigration policy could substantially limit the growth.


How components of the U.S. population are projected to change by 2050:

Racial/ethnic groups 2005 2050
Foreign-born 12% 19%
White* 67% 47%
Hispanic 14% 29%
Black* 13% 13%
Asian* 5% 9%

Note: *=Non-Hispanic
American Indian/Alaska Native not included

Source: Pew Research Center; Julie Snider, USA TODAY

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