According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on October 17, 2006 the United States become the third country (behind China and India) to be home to more than 300 million people. Big numbers can be hard to understand, but I found some really cool maps, clocks, and graphics to put it into perspective.
"Every ten years, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, an agency of the government, counts how many people live in the United States and asks them questions about their lifestyle, families, jobs, income, age, ethnicity, childcare and other topics." Fact Monster explains the U.S. Census process, looks at its history with a timeline starting in 1787, and charts U.S. population by region and state. Search for "world population" to jump to the World Stats and Facts section.
This Honeycomb map (built with stats from the 2004 CIA Factbook) is fascinating. Playing around with it will certainly help you better grasp the relative population, geographic area, and density of the world's biggest countries. The first thing you need to understand is that each square represents a country. You control how the countries are grouped within the Honeycomb, what data is represented by the size of the square (population, size, or density) and what is represented by the color of the square. Clicking on any square will display the country's quick facts, along with a link to its Wikipedia entry.
This U.S. map represents our projected population in 2010. Clicking on any state will reveal population changes expected there. "North Dakota is the only state that is expected to decline in population." To scroll backwards through history, click on the timeline at the bottom of the graphic, or use the Previous button. Note changes in our racial profile (see the graph on the right), and population density. Just above the timeline, are audio clips about the corresponding generations, including The Lost Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, and more.
"The Population Reference Bureau informs people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations." Best clicks are found in Educators (lesson plans and classroom activities), PRB Library (printable graphs and articles), and the Graphics Bank. The Graphics Bank contains more than a hundred PowerPoint presentations that you are free to use as is (or customize as needed) for homework or any presentation.
"Population clocks on the U.S. Census Bureau's website will update continuously for one minute and then will update once per minute after the first minute a web page is displayed." To view the calculations behind the current rate of population growth, follow the links below the counters. For example, when I checked the U.S. Pop Clock, it was adding a person every eleven seconds, based on the following statistics: a birth every seven seconds, a death every thirteen seconds, and an immigrant every thirty-one seconds.