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April 29, 2010

Will North Carolina's population grow?

One of the major factors driving growth in an economy is population. When demographers and others look out over the next several decades do they see a growing population in the U.S. and, even more important to us, in North Carolina?

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"Let me put this in perspective. ... One of the big problems in some countries of the world is not just slow population growth but population decline. [For] countries like Japan, Russia and some key Western European countries, demographers predict -- and it is not a very hard prediction, because you look at birth rates and death rates -- ... that these countries will actually get smaller: fewer numbers of people in them, and this has all kinds of implications for your economy, for social programs, for taxes, et cetera.

"Not so though here in the U.S. Among developed countries, we are actually a leader in terms of population growth. In fact, demographers estimate that by 2050 we will have added another third to our population -- that is a 100 million people.

"In North Carolina, if you would just take that same proportion, that means we would add another 3 million, putting our state population at 12 million by that period of time. And actually it will probably occur faster because we are actually growing faster.

"Now this means a lot of business opportunities -- means a lot of new job opportunities -- but it also means challenges for things like our infrastructure and our natural resources."

Posted by deeshore at April 29, 2010 07:48 AM