Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Emma. Emma Wonders, “What is the population of the USA?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Emma!

Have you ever been down in the dumps? Of course you have. We all feel down from time to time. When you feel down, it's always good when a friend comes along to tell you, “You're not alone." The next time someone tells you that, believe them!

In fact, the words “you're not alone" have never been truer here on Earth. Here are some facts and figures that might blow your mind:

  • Earth is now home to over 7 billion people. That's right. Billion with a “b"!
  • The world's population grows by approximately 80 million people each year.
  • Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year, about 4.3 people are born and about 1.8 people die. That means that the world's population increases by about 2.5 people every second!

Can you believe those numbers? They're mind-boggling, aren't they? It's hard for most of us to comprehend the concept of 7 billion people.

Of course, those 7 billion people are spread all over the Earth in many different countries. If you live in the United States, you live in the third most populous country on Earth (after China and India).

Today, the population of the United States is well over 300 million people. It wasn't always that big, though! Way back in 1790 — the year of the first census — the U.S. population was just under 4 million people.

The population of the U.S. had surpassed the 100 million mark by 1920 and the 200 million mark by 1970. The 300 million barrier was broken in October 2006. When will it hit 400 million? Experts estimate the U.S. population will pass 400 million by 2043.

So, within the United States, which state has the most people? With over 37 million people, California earns that title. In fact, California's population is greater than the combined total population of the 21 least populous states.

Although there are 50 states, the U.S. population isn't distributed evenly across them. Over half of the people in the U.S. live in one of the 9 most populous states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Georgia. The 25 least populous states account for less than one-sixth of the total population.

Understanding where people live within the United States can help you understand politics better. When it's election time, you've probably noticed that candidates spend more time in certain states. The greater a state's population, the more representatives and Electoral College votes it has. That's why the most populous states get the most attention at election time!

Standards: D2.Geo.4.6-8, D2.Geo.5.6-8, D2.Geo.6.6-8, D2.Geo.7.6-8, D2.Geo.8.6-8, D2.Geo.9.6-8, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.4,

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Thinking about getting in forty winks? Check out tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day first!