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September 08, 2006 09:33PM
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/08/31/alarm_sounds_on_us_population_boom/

Alarm sounds on US population boom

WASHINGTON -- The United States, now at nearly 300 million people, is the only industrialized country that has experienced strong population growth in the last decade, creating concerns that the boom and Americans' huge appetites for food, water, and land will sharply erode the nation's natural resources in coming years, according to a report released yesterday.......

.........While some researchers focus on alarming fertility rates in poor countries, which grew by 16.3 percent from 1995 to 2005, the US population grew by 10.6 percent in that period, or 29 million people, the report noted. Europe during that time grew by 504,000 people, or less than 1 percent.

The US population boom was attributed to high birth rates, immigration, and increased longevity.

Americans consume like no other nation -- using three times the amount of water per capita than the world average and nearly 25 percent of the world's energy, despite having 5 percent of the global population; and producing five times more daily waste than the average in poor countries.

Most Americans say that most of the population [increases] are happening in other parts of the world, but if you look at this report, the trends that stand out are what's happening here" in the United States, said Victoria Markham, the center's executive director and author of the report.

One of the most alarming findings was that baby boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964, about 26 percent of the US population -- were not downsizing as their children became adults and moved out. Instead, many have moved into bigger houses or bought vacation properties, and the tally of homes with space greater than 3,000 square feet went up 11 percent from 1988 to 2003.........

.....But the booming South and West regions show some of the most dramatic environmental stresses, according to the report. For example, the four fastest-growing states -- Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah -- all have areas of acute water shortages........
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