I watched the 300 Millionth American being born this morning.
That is to say, I watched the nation’s population clock, which estimates the number of people in the country based on birth and death records, flip to 300,000,000 on NBC’s Today. The real 300 millionth may or may not have been born at that moment, but by now, he or she is here.
This milestone comes with mixed emotions. It’s certainly good news that part of the reason we’ve reached this number of people is that we’re living longer. But it’s a little scary to think that we’ve got that many more people in a world where there seems to be more and more threats to peace by the hour. I suppose one could consider the rate of growth alarming as well. The nation hit 100 Million in 1915. Back then, the median age was just 24.1 and the life expectancy was 54.5 years.
It took 52 years for us to reach the 200 Million mark in 1967. By then, the median age was 29.5, but the life expectancy had jumped to 70.5 years.
Today, just 39 years later, the national median age is 36.2, just slightly below my current age, the life expectancy is edging up to 77.8.
Some statistician will be able to easily compute how soon we’ll be looking at the 400 Million mark. We can only hope the world is in better shape by then.