Today marks a significant milestone for the United States – but perhaps one you’ve not heard in the news. Evidently early this morning the US population reached a hefty 300,000,000 making it the third most populous nation. Both China and India exceed 1 billion people.

When the US reached 200,000,000 in 1967, then president Lyndon B. Johnson christened the event with a news conference. In it he spoke of the country’s successes and the challenges that lay ahead. There’ve been no indications of President Bush marking the event at all. The cynics among us would say it’s not a good political move given 40% of the new population comes from immigration, legal and illegal. Immigration policies have been a hot topic over the past months. No need to open that political can or worms when the 300,000,000 marker might otherwise pass by silently.

The U.S. Census Bureau has a web page that clocks the population. Statistically, a person dies in the US every 13 seconds; a baby is born every 7 seconds; a new immigrant arrives every 31 seconds. That produces a net increase of 1 person every 11 seconds.

Demographically, Hispanics are the largest growing ethnic segment of the population. Some demographers say the 300,000,000th person in the US was a Latino male, born in Los Angeles County to Mexican parents. In reality, who knows? Perhaps number 300,000,000th was born in Chicago, or stepped off a plane from Timbukto, or swam the Rio Grande in the wee hours of the morning.

The big thing is that we passed a population milestone and the rest is purely speculation.

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