An estimated 246.9 million people are living in the United States as 1989 begins, according to the Census Bureau.

Demographers at the Commerce Department agency said the New Year's Day estimate of 246,879,546 represents a 9 percent increase over the April 1980 census count of 226,545,805.The Jan. 1, 1989, total is almost 2.3 million higher than the 1988 New Year's Day figure. The population is projected to grow by 2.2 million during 1989.

The record for net population growth in a single year is 3.1 million, recorded during the baby boom year of 1956, when the U.S. population was about 168 million.