FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In the past year, the population of the United States grew by 392,665, or 0.1%, the lowest rate since the nation’s founding.

The slow rate of growth can be attributed to decreased net international migration, decreased fertility, and increased mortality due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statistics are according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2021 national and state population estimates and components of change released on December 21.

Population growth has been slowing for years because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population. Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in an historically slow pace of growth.

Kristie Wilder, demographer, Population Division at the Census Bureau

Since April 1, 2020 (Census Day), the nation’s population increased from 331,449,281 to 331,893,745, a gain of 444,464, or 0.13%.

Between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021, the nation’s growth was due to natural increase (148,043), which is the number of excess births over deaths, and net international migration (244,622). This is the first time that net international migration (the difference between the number of people moving into the country and out of the country) has exceeded natural increase for a given year.

The voting-age resident population, adults age 18 and over, grew to 258.3 million, comprising 77.8% of the population in 2021.