Uh oh, the Census Bureau just lost 39 million people

by Ryan Streeter on December 16, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Well, not really. It’s long-term projections are 39 million lower than they were four years ago. More specifically:

[T]he bureau’s new projected population of 420.3 million in 2060 is below its previous projection of 439 million for a decade earlier, in 2050. The bureau’s new projected population for 2050 is 399.8 million

Lower birth rates and slowing immigration have driven the decrease by changing how the Census the calculates population growth going forward. Forecasting is tricky business, but there’s no doubt that birth rates and immigration patterns are one of the most important demographic developments of the past decade.