The United States added nearly 17 million people from 2007 to 2014

In the middle of a story regarding the rising price of electricity, I found this surprising fact:

According to the Census Bureau, however, the resident population of the United States increased from 300,888,674 in April 2007 to 317,787,997 in April 2014.

Several quick thoughts:

1. I had a conversation earlier in the day with several colleagues about population stagnation in a number of industrialized countries around the world. The United States is unusual compared to Western Europe which has lower birth rates and lower rates of immigration.

2. It is hard to imagine 17 million people. In other terms, the United States added more than the metropolitan population of London.

3. I’ve had the thought lately that perhaps part of the political morass in the United States these days is due to a political system that is simply difficult to maintain with 317 million residents. Providing for all of these people adds to the difficulties of maintaining bureaucracies (and you need quite a few with the population). A two party system makes it very difficult to represent all of the competing concerns and interests. Reaching consensus can be difficult within a country that prizes individualism.

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