U.S. population hits 300 million

This morning at 7:46 eastern daylight time, the 300 millionth American was either born or crossed the border. Person 300 Million is here just in time for bitter pre-election immigration debates: 40 percent of the U.S. population growth rate is attributed to immigration, and immigrants make up the largest proportion of the nation’s population since the 1920s. Person 300 Million will also probably join his or her compatriots in sprawling outward: The 100 millionth American arrived in 1915 into a country with 2.5 million cars; the 200 millionth was born 52 years later, in 1967, when there were 98.9 million cars; now, 39 years later, the 300 millionth person will have the opportunity to breathe in tailpipe emissions from 237.2 million cars. The U.S., which has the dubious distinction of being the only industrialized nation with robust population growth, is third only to China and India in total population. And the U.S. Census Bureau population clock ominously ticks on, adding a new person every 11 seconds.