Fewer Americans will be alive to see Joe Biden Inaugurated than were living on Election Day. This has probably never happened before.
Here’s the math.
Across 2019, the US averaged about 8000 deaths per day.
In 2019, we averaged about 10,000 births per day. That is, by the way, the lowest figure in decades, part of a long-term, accelerating decline. By the end of 2020 it was estimated that the daily rate of new births might have declined to as few as 8800 a day. for now, though, let’s just stick with the 10,000 figure.
A normal delta between deaths per day and births per day in the US, based on 2019 data, is roughly +2000/day, producing a “rate of natural increase” for a country of 328m people of .3%, give or take a kid or two.
As our growth rate from fertility alone has ground almost to zero, nearly all of our population growth now comes from immigration. Almost all immigration was halted by the Trump Administration in April, shutting down that pipeline of growth.
At normal birth rates, absent immigration, our population growth rate should remain positive so long as we don’t sustain more than 2000 excess deaths per day.
Between Nov 8th 2020 and January 12, 2021, the US averaged just under 2200 COVID-19 deaths per day. Putting us well into negative territory. Yesterday we lost more than 4100 Americans to COVID-19. The 7-day moving average for daily deaths is at 3400 and still rising steeply.
Take a normal rate of growth from births/deaths of 2000/day, factor in 2200 additional deaths per day from COVID-19, and you have a declining population.
But wait, lockdowns and social distancing should have reduced overall deaths from other causes like accidents. Thing is, that didn’t happen and we still don’t know why.
As of October, only 2/3 of America’s excess deaths (deaths above the average rate) were officially attributed to COVID-19. In other words, excess deaths were running another 30+% above the rate of COVID deaths. Normally expected deaths (about 8000/day) plus COVID deaths, left another 740 deaths per day from other causes above the COVID death rate. Instead of a normal-year base rate of 8000 deaths per day, you have to add the COVID deaths to an enhanced US base rate has been running about 8700 per day.
Leading causes of death like cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses wouldn’t decline just because of a lockdown. Some speculate they may actually have risen. While violent crime dropped significantly, homicides were up sharply. However, homicide is not a major contributor to annual death rates and the rate of increase would not move the needle on overall deaths.
Traffic deaths in the US actually spiked in 2020 by more than 12%, a complete departure from the experience elsewhere in the world where driving deaths were down sharply. Though again, this is not a large number overall. We don’t know why death rates have ranged so high, though the simplest and most likely explanation is just that we experienced a lot more COVID-19 deaths than we officially recorded.
By any reasonable estimate we will be a smaller country on Inauguration Day 2021 than we were on Election Day 2020. The Congressional Budget Office released a report predicting that our failed COVID response is likely to cost the US an additional 3% decline in our projected 2050 population over last year’s prediction.
Congratulations on becoming Great Again.