Facts and Figures for the New Century

A Growing Population

1900

2000

Population

76 Million

281 Million

Population per sq. mile

25.6

79.6



Questions to Think About

  1. During the 20th century, the American population nearly quadrupled in size. What differences do you think that the growth of the population has made?


 

An Aging Population

1900

2000

Median Age

23 years

35 years

Life expectancy

49 years

77 years

Over 65

4.1 percent

12.4 percent

Over 75

1 percent

4.4 percent



Questions to Think About

  1. During the 20th century the U.S. population grew much older, with much of the increase taking place among those older than 65. What impact has the aging of the population had on American politics and society?


 

A Shifting Population Distribution
Geographical Distribution

1900

2000

Northeast

27

19

Midwest

35

23

South

32

36

West

6

22

Number of Farms

5.7 million

2 million


Questions to Think About

  1. What did the shift in population to the South and the West mean for the distribution of political power in the United States?
  2. How could a much smaller number of farms feed a rapidly growing population?

 

An Increasingly Diverse Population

1990

2000

White

76.1 percent

75.1 percent

African American

12.1 percent

12.3 percent

Hispanics

9.0 percent

12.5 percent

Asian

2.8 percent

4.2 percent

1970

1980

1990

2000

Foreign-born

4.7 percent

6.2 percent

7.9 percent

8.8 percent


Questions to Think About

  1. During the last decades of the twentieth century, the American population became much more diverse, with a sharp increase in immigration. Which groups have grown most rapidly? How did the increasing diversity of American society influence the country's politics and culture?


 

Changing Family Arrangements

1970

2000

Children living with 2 parents

85 percent

69 percent

Children living with 1 parent

12 percent

27 percent

Living Alone

17.1 percent

25.8 percent

Median age at 1st marriage

23.2 (men)

26.8 (men)

20.8 (women)

25.1 (women)



Questions to Think About

  1. What factors contributed to changes in family arrangements?


 

Educational Attainment Increased

1900

2000

High school graduate

6.4 percent

80.4 percent


Questions to Think About

  1. By 2000, 15.5 percent of American adults had received a bachelor's degree and 8.9 percent had received a graduate or professional degree. Why did the length of education increase during the 20th century? How did this alter the lives of the young?

 

Increasing Affluence

1900

2000

Average Weekly Earnings

$9.70

$435

Home ownership

46 percent
(for whites only)

66.2 percent

Automobiles

13,824

131,839,000

  • In 1900, 1 in 7 homes had a bathtub; by 2000, only about 0.6 percent of American homes lacked complete plumbing
  • In 1900, 1 in 13 homes had a telephone; in 2000, 98 percent of American households had telephone service

 

Questions to Think About

  1. What factors contributed to the increase in home ownership, improvements in the quality of housing, and in the number of automobiles?

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