« Two high-ranking officers let go | Main | Strib: Up to 10 years for millionaire tax dodger »

U.S. population may hit 1 billion by 2100

Experts predict that the population of the United States could hit the 1 billion mark by 2100, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The U.S. currently has about 304 million residents, compared to 1.3 billion in China, which hit the 1 billion mark in the 1980s.

The prediction, made by Arthur Nelson, co-director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, at an urban planning meeting in Las Vegas, assumes that fertility rates will remain the same but that immigration rates will increase.

How will the U.S. absorb so many people? Nelson advoates turning parking lots into commercial and residential buildings, reducing the reliance on cars through improvements in mass transportation.

Not everyone agrees with the projection. Robert Lang, one of Nelson's colleagues, believes birthrates will decline, largely because birthrates across the world are declining. "I would rather focus on the near certainty that we will gain 100 million people by 2043. … No one plans for 100 years from now except to preserve a national park,' he said.

Population projections in most countries rarely extend beyond 2050.