New Census Data Makes the Case for Automation 

people smiling together
New Census Data Makes the Case for Automation 

Source: Census Bureau

The U.S. population grew just 0.4% in 2022, according to Census Bureau data released in December. The U.S. added 1.3 million people to reach a total population of 333.3 million in the year ended July 1. The small increase was greater than the lowest-ever 0.1% of growth in 2021, but it shows the country’s population is expanding at historical lows. 


The rise of ecommerce and omnichannel retail during the first two years of the pandemic weren’t a temporary blip. Supporting the high level of productivity that the new models of retail demand is a major challenge. 


More specifics include 245,000 more births than deaths and net migration of 1 million delivered most of the growth. The good news is that the Census Bureau projects that the U.S. will continue to grow at least through the middle of the century. But key indicators suggest that stagnant growth means automation will play a more and more critical part of the economy. 


3 population indicators

While achieving small net growth, the U.S. population expanded overall – and contracted in certain ways – for different reasons.

  1. Natural causes drove shinkage. More births than deaths and net positive migration fueled growth. But 24 states had more deaths than births in the year covered by the report, according to the Journal. The paper notes University of New Hampshire demographer Kenneth Johnson’s observation that this is “a staggeringly high number.” Before the pandemic it was unusual for even five states to record such “natural decreases.” The cause, he says, are not only deaths produced by Covid, but also birthrates declining and deaths rising prior to the pandemic.

  2. Eighteen states lost population. New York (minus 0.9%), Illinois (minus 0.8%) and Louisiana (minus 0.8%). California, the nation’s most populous state, declined 0.3%. Before the pandemic, California hadn’t lost population, but during the last two years has logged back-to-back losses.

  3. Immigration powered growth. Positive net domestic migration (867,935) and net international migration (414,740) were the largest contributions to add 1,282,675 residents.


International view

While the Census projects population growth through 2050 in the U.S., other leading economies’ populations have shrunk. The Journal reports populations have begun to shrink in Japan and many Eastern European nations, as well as Germany, Italy, Greece and Portugal. China’s population of 1.4 billion might have peaked, growing just 0.03% in 2021. 


Top 10 economies by GDP

The size of a country’s economy is indicated by its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the total market value of all the goods and services produced in a year. Real GDP is a more accurate gauge of a country’s current economic status because it adjusts for currency fluctuations. The top 10 economies ranked by Real GDP according to Business Insider are:


United States

$20.94 trillion



$14.72 trillion



$5.05 trillion



$3.84 trillion


United Kingdom

$2.76 trillion



$2.66 trillion



$2.63 trillion



$1.88 trillion



$1.64 trillion


South Korea

$1.63 trillion

Keeping up with the (retail) Joneses


Countries with growing populations can maintain economic expansion. Examples of expanding countries are not only the U.S., but also India and, until recently, China. Demographic trends form the backdrop for possible economic downturns in various economies around the world, so it’s important to take note. 


In the face of change, warehouse operators face heightened consumer expectations to automate fulfillment end-to-end in order to keep up with the rapid growth of ecommerce and omnichannel retail.

Previous ArticleThe Evolution of Fulfillment: From in-store and Ecommerce to Omnichannel and beyond Next ArticleThe Future of Shopping: 3 Trends That Can Help Retailers Recession-Proof Their Business
icon-angle icon-bars icon-times