msnbc.com
updated 10/17/2006 2:56:08 PM ET 2006-10-17T18:56:08

The U.S. population officially hit 300 million at 7:46 a.m. ET Tuesday, causing concern among environmentalists about resources becoming more and more limited as the number of consumers in the nation increases. Government commerce officials, on the other hand, touted the milestone as good for the economy.

We asked you to share your thoughts, and hundreds of responses streamed in, with readers voicing opinions on both ends of the spectrum:

Birth is never a reason to fear our future. In fact, therein lies the hope that we'll continue on. This note comes from the midst of the heated struggle to ban abortion in the state of South Dakota. Forty-seven million abortions since 1973 have kept us from reaching the 300 million mark until today. I'm thinking we aborted the little gal who would have grown up to discover a cure for HIV, AIDS, or cancer. Again, birth is a reason for hope. Let's let them all live!!
-Steve Hickey, Sioux Falls, SD

Worry, and worry plenty. By the year 2040 we will grow to 400 million. Think about it. Then think about 40 years beyond that. Combine that with the present state of the world, and what is to come?
-M. Woodard, Syracuse, NY

Limits to growth. Are resources growing or diminishing? Can a growing population be sustained by depleting resources? There's no time for celebrations or worries. It's time to study and work on sustainable answers and survival.
-Jose Gilberto Sesman, San Juan, Puerto Rico

We should not celebrate life for the sake of life: It happens every day more times than can be accurately counted. Our nation's focus should be to concentrate in increasing the quality of life for Americans. Growth in population for the U.S. will have both positive and negative consequences.
-Luis Lindemann, Irvine, Calif.

It should be a reason to celebrate. Our future economy can be balanced, unlike potential countries like Europe or Japan. And with the baby-boomer section, it makes population growth critical.
-Cindy Gonzalez, Boston, Mass.

Worry! I live in a small town in Massachusetts about 50 miles from Boston and I feel like our small little towns are growing too fast. There isn't enough land in some of our towns to hold the people that are coming in from the cities. It's just a matter of time before we run out of room to support all of these people. Even the roads in town that were not that traveled 10 years ago are now filled with heavy traffic.
-Ron, Franklin, Mass.

It should be a celebration, and, to some extent, create awareness of what we need to do to adapt to the ever-growing population of the United States and especially in the West, which has become the new America to many. I think our focus should shift some from what to do about illegal immigration to how to accommodate people in our ever expanding metropolitan cities like L.A., Phoenix, San Diego and Las Vegas.
-Ruben Marquez, Alhambra, Calif.

Worry about our future. The current world population is already causing our natural habitats and resources to be depleted. Adding more humans will only speed up the process of destroying more nature. Once these natural habitats have caved way to human population/growth there is no turning back.
-Michael Pedersen, Maple Valley, Wash.

Greatest problem we face is overpopulation. It is key to every other issue facing the U.S. and the rest of the world: pollution, endangered species, global warming & poverty. Somehow this administration just doesn't get it or most anything else of importance to everyone he wasn't elected to serve. To call for celebration is absurd.
-Teri Price, Wichita Falls, Texas

Population growth, to me, is synonymous with homelessness, unemployment, further depletion of natural resources, and the increased likelihood that nature will remedy this problem with a pandemic.
-Jake Jennette, Milton, Wash.

It should be a celebration! We have so much land and wealth here to share with the whole world! Poverty in Mexico, Africa and South America is so common and we are so wealthy here, why not share our lands and let our population grow? We have so much room for expansion, say, for example, in the deserts in Nevada and southern Utah, and even the fields in Wyoming and Montana. We have so much land that is just land. We could easily let people live and grow there and be happy.
-Jeffrey Taylor, Salt Lake City, Utah

Worry for our future, because more undocumented people means more health care costs from the legal working American. Is there going to be any assistance left for me and my children in the case we might not be healthy and/or able to work one day? I'm tired of helping pay for assistance for people who are here illegally. They should not be afforded the same or better rights than the legal American. God help the USA!
-Tina Hehn, Dalton, Ga.

I think the implications of this are very mixed. On the one hand, I believe the world prospers when the number of free-living, positive-thinking, democracy-embracing people goes up. However, on the other hand I think we need to reduce the rate of increase in the total world population in order to improve the chances for the human race to prosper long term.
-Garey Johnson, Redwood City, Calif.

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