Welcome to the party! The US Census Bureau reports that America’s population will pass the 300 million mark next week. Time to celebrate, right? Not according to everyone.
When we hit the 200 million mark, it was 1967 and President Lyndon Johnson commemorated the feat with a laudatory speech. It was a big deal then and it should be an even bigger deal now. We’ve only been around for 230 years and we’ve managed to become the most prosperous nation on the planet. So let’s get out the red, white and blue ribbons and throw a big bash!
Not so fast according to a Washington Post front page article today. The Post quotes Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning at the University of Southern Cal who says, “we are beginning to be crushed under the weight of our own quality-of-life degradation.” Also quoted in the article is a former Census Bureau chief Martha Farnsworth Riche who says that we’ve run out of “wide open spaces” and are therefore “constrained” in our options.
Basically the “big whine theory” (as I am going to call it) goes as such: more people means more cars, SUVs and traffic which means more urban growth and more greenhouse gases which causes Al Gore’s dreadful Global Warming crisis (which should be noted affects not only the spoiled baby boomers of America but the elk and caribou in Alaska as well) and ultimately contributes to the end of the world as we know it.
If you take a look at the actual numbers, the largest contributor to the population growth can be attributed to the immigration boom over recent years. Immigration numbers account for about 40 percent of the growth and much of that figure is attributed to Latino immigrants. Oddly, the Post offered that “Hispanic women have one more child” than white women on average. So you’d better learn to say, “Bienvenidos a los Estados Unidos de America!”
I suppose I’m too much of an optimist or too cynical of population control theorists, but I’m proud that we’re getting bigger and better everyday. We put the first man on the moon, lead the world in science and medicine and offer freedom and democracy to all. Only China and India are larger than us and I believe that when the day comes that we surpass them too, we’ll still be the envy of the world.
Nobody belongs in my great back yard if they aren’t willing to come by birth or legal means, but assuming you get here by the proper channels. Come on and join the party!
And if you’re still so bent out of shape by the population size, remember you can always choose to decrease it by one.
I can be reached for question or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.