December 7, 2010 | Los Angeles Times | Original Article

Census estimates put U.S. population as high as 313 million

Census surprise? The government provided new estimates Monday showing that the U.S. population grew to somewhere between 306 million and 313 million over the last decade, acknowledging uncertainty because of rapid shifts in immigration.

The estimates, which are separate from the official 2010 census count, are based on a review of birth and death records as well as calculations of new immigrants as of April 1. Demographers say the range of numbers offers a rough guide to the official 2010 results that will be used to apportion House seats when they are released this month.

"For the first time, we are providing a series of demographic analysis estimates to more clearly demonstrate the uncertainty in these figures," Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.

The numbers show the nation's population ranged from 305.7 million to 307.4 million based on lower rates of immigration, which independent think tanks such as the Pew Hispanic Center have said dropped off sharply recently because of the souring U.S. economy.

A mid-range estimate, which in previous census reports have typically come within 1% or 2% of the final count, puts the number at 308.5 million. Census estimates based on assumptions of higher levels of immigration place the nation's population between 310 million and 312.7 million.

In 2000, the official census count was 281.4 million.

No breakdowns were provided Monday for states or local areas.

The estimates also indicate that Latinos accounted for all of the growth in the youth population in the last decade. In 2000, Latinos made up 17% of the U.S. population under age 20. They now represent somewhere between 22% and 25% of that age group. Without them, the number of young people in the U.S. would have declined between 2000 and 2010.