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Demographic characteristics


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Most of the population is concentrated in the eastern half of the United States and adjacent parts of Ontario and Quebec, the US Pacific coast, and the central plateau of Mexico. Nearly 80 per cent of the inhabitants of Canada, the United States, and Greenland are defined as urban, as are about 70 per cent of all Mexicans. The principal urban areas are on the US Atlantic coast from Boston to Washington, D.C., around the shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario, at the southern end of Lake Michigan, in northern and southern California, and greater Mexico City.

The largest cities include Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey, in Mexico; New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Diego, in the United States; and Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Edmonton, in Canada. Away from the metropolitan areas, most of North America has only a sparse to moderate population density. In Mexico the overall population density is approximately 43 people per sq km (111 per sq mi); in the United States, about 27.2 per sq km (70.3 per sq mi); and in Canada, some 2.6 per sq km (6.6 per sq mi). The great majority of Canadians lived in a relatively narrow band along the southern boundary.

In both Canada and the United States the rate of population increase has declined since the 1950s. The Canadian population increased by about 1 per cent per year in the mid 1990s, when the annual growth rate for the United States was also 1 per cent and for Greenland, 1.2 per cent. Mexico, however, had one of the hemisphere's highest rates of population increase, about 1.9 per cent per year, and its crude birth rate (about 26 per 1,000 people in 1996), was almost double that of the rest of the continent.

The crude death rate was 4.5 per 1,000 people in Mexico, 13 in Canada, and 8 in the United States. Intercontinental migration to North America was significant in the 1970s and 1980s, with large numbers of Asians and Europeans going to the United States and Canada. In addition, many people moved from South American and Caribbean countries to the United States. The largest population movements, however, occurred within North America itself, from Mexico to the United States and from the north-eastern United States to southern and western parts of the country. "North America" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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