Math Exercise: Security Clearances for Everyone

Today’s Improbable Math Exercise is about national security, whatever that is. The Newser web site reports:

A whopping 4.2 million people have access to classified government information, according to a new government report. That’s a far cry from the 2.4 million estimate the Government Accountability Office came up with just two years ago, and, the Washington Post points out, it’s just over a million shy of the total population of the greater Washington, DC, area.

We have bolded the numbers in that report. Your task, should you accept it, is to:

  1. estimate the yearly rate of increase in the number of U.S.A. security clearances; then
  2. look up the current population of the U.S.A.; then
  3. look up estimates of the rate of population growth
  4. Using your favorite calculation technique, estimate how soon the citizens of the U.S.A. will have all—every one of them—have security clearances

(HT @MonicaAmarelo)