NPR logo The 300 Million Milestone

The 300 Million Milestone

The population of the United States officially hit 300 million at 7:46 a.m. EDT today. But even the officials at the Census Bureau who track such things aren't swearing by the official number. "I don't think anybody believes it will be the precise moment when the population hits 300 million," Howard Hogan of the Census Bureau told the Associated Press shortly before the appointed minute. "We're confident that we're somewhat close."

Just as in horseshoes, close is good enough when it comes to demographics. Close has certainly been good enough for the media organizations that are using the occasion to take stock of big changes in the U.S. population. Listen to Robert Smith's piece on Monday's All Things Considered. In a column in today's Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required), Joel Kotkin describes a place "where few Manhattan or Washington pundits venture" that exemplifies three big trends: suburbanization, the growth of the Sunbelt and the country's burgeoning ethnic diversity. It's Fort Bend County near Houston.

"The largely affordable middle-class suburb has a population that is just under half white, one fifth African American, one-fifth Hispanic and around 12 percent Asian. It's the new American melting pot, and, more or less, it's working."