Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. PF 1.1 Number of Children Under Age 18 in the United States

01/01/2000

In 1999, there were 70.2 million children under age 18 in the United States. This number is expected to increase to 77.2 million by 2020. The total number of children under age 18 has increased by 48 percent since 1950. Most of that increase occurred during the “baby boom” years of the 1950s and early 1960s, when record numbers of children were born in these prosperous post-World War II years. During the 1970s and 1980s, the number of children initially declined and then grew slowly. Beginning in 1990, the rate of growth in the number of children increased, although not as rapidly as during the baby boom. These trends gave rise to the terms “baby bust” or “birth dearth,” and “echo baby boom.”

In 1999, there were approximately equal numbers of children—between 23 and 24 million—in each age group 0-5, 6-11, and 12-17 years of age. In 1950 and 1960, there were more children under age 6 than there were ages 6-11 or 12-17, reflecting the large number of babies being born during these years.

Table PF 1.1 Number (in millions) of children under age 18 in the United States, by age: Selected years, 1950-1999, and projected, 2000-2020

  Projected
  1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 1999 2000 2010 2020
ll children 47.3 64.5 69.8 63.7 64.2 70.2 70.4 72.1 77.2
Under age 6 19.1 24.3 20.9 19.6 22.5 22.8 22.7 24.0 26.3
Ages 6-11 15.3 21.8 24.6 20.8 21.6 24.0 24.1 23.4 25.6
Ages 12-17 12.9 18.4 24.3 23.3 20.1 23.4 23.5 24.6 25.2

Sources: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-25, no. 311, no. 519, no. 917, no. 1130 (Table 2 in each); and unpublished data, U.S. Bureau of the Census.


Figure PF 1.1 Number (in millions) of children under age 18 in the United States: 1950-1999, and projected, 2000-2020

Figure PF 1.1 Number (in millions) of children under age 18 in the United States: 1950-1999, and projected, 2000-2020

Sources: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-25, no. 311, no. 519, no. 917, no. 1130 (Table 2 in each); and unpublished data, U.S. Bureau of the Census.

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