MVP Sustainability Map
United States of America
GDP Per Capita
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Craig Nagy; License CC BY-SA 2.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Welcome_to_the_United_States_sign_at_the_Peace_Arch.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
The United States’ current population and its consumption of renewable resources is far greater than what is sustainable. Without decreasing its citizen’s income, wealth or lifestyles the country would need to reduce its population by over 50% (by roughly 200 million people) to achieve a more sustainable future.
As the country adds over two million citizens a year to its population, this growth is placing greater demand for infrastructure like housing, roads, water and sewer, schools, food and many other resources that cause deforestation, appropriation of more wildlands, loss of habitat, water scarcity, water pollution, soil erosion and soil fertility loss. The IUCN ranks the United States as one of the worst offenders of global biodiversity loss from its continued growth and sprawl.
A US National Intelligence Council Report in 2013 assessing the country’s natural resources stated globally, more resources will be needed as population increases by 2040 unless there is a radical deviation from the business-as-usual trajectory. At the aggregate level, there are significant scarcity challenges for a number of key natural resources with potential impact on U.S. security. (1)
Fortunately births are slowing. The United States’ total fertility rate has remained below replacement since the late 1970s. However the country holds the position as the largest annual immigrant destination in the world over the past two decades with an average of over one million immigrants settling in the country annually. Immigration is responsible for half of the country’s overall annual population growth.