Case Study – The USA

The United States of America (USA) is a large country with an area of 9,826,630 square kilometers and a population estimated at 311,591,917 in July 2011. Click the link below to view a map of the USA.

Map of the USA

Population Growth in the United States of America (USA)

Unlike many developed countries, where the population is stable or even decreasing, the population of the USA is growing fairly quickly. Let us examine some of the factors influencing population growth in the USA:

The death rate is fairly high due to the large proportion of elderly people in the population. A high death rate tends to slow down the rate of population growth.

The fertility rate is only slightly above 2.0. This cannot account for the rate of increase in the population as a fertility rate of about 2.0 is believed to have a stabilizing effect on population growth.

Every year, the USA receives large numbers of immigrants. Over 1 million people enter the country legally each year. Large numbers also enter illegally. These immigrants are often young people who start families soon after settling in the USA. They often have larger families than people born in the United States. Immigration is the main reason for the fairly rapid growth in the population of the USA. The graph below illustrates this very well.

This graph shows the impact of immigration on population growth in the USA


It is clear in the graph above that the number of immigrants and their descendants is growing much faster than the rest of the population. According to the graph, within the next few decades, the population of the USA will be made up mostly of people who have migrated to the country since 1970 and their descendants.


Comparing Population Growth in Jamaica and the USA

The CXC/CSEC syllabus requires students to compare the factors affecting population growth in one Caribbean territory and one developed country. You can easily compare population growth in Jamaica and the United States.

  • The fertility rates in both countries are quite low. The fertility rate in the USA is just above 2.0. The fertility rate in Jamaica is about 2.4, a little higher than that of the USA.


  •  Jamaica experiences a net outflow of migrants. This means that there are more emigrants than immigrants. The situation in the USA is reversed. There is a net inflow of migrants with very large numbers of immigrants and relatively few emigrants. The large number of immigrants which pour into the USA and their descendants are the main reason for the current rate of growth in the US population.


  • Due to reductions in the fertility and birth rates, population growth in Jamaica has slowed down quite a bit in the last few decades. However the population of the USA continues to grow fairly quickly.

Take the Population Quiz!

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