As relentlessly as the clock clicked in the new year, the bell of change tolled for millions of Americans. Starting today, it'll be seen in liquor bottles and federal paperwork, wages and savings, and size of the population.

Here's a sampling:

GROWING PAPER -- Government-wide, the bureaucracy shifts from 8 1/2-by 10-inch to 8 1/2-by 11-inch paper. The idea is to get more typed words on a page.

SHRINKING BOTTLES -- A "fifth" of liquor is replaced by a slightly smaller 750 milliliter bottle under labeling regulations requiring metric measurement for distilled spirits. A half-pint also shrinks, by 1.2 ounches, to 6.8 ounces or 200 milliliters.

RISING WAGES -- The federal minimum wage rises to $3.10 an hour from $2.90, or a 6.9 percent increase for 5 million dishwashers, waitresses, messengers, retail store clerks, maids, laborers and others in entry-level jobs.

EXPANDING POPULATION -- Dawn broke on 221,895,548 persons in the United States today, according to Census Bureau estimates, a population 2 million greater than at the start of last year.

ATTRACTING SAVINGS -- Two-and-a-half-year certificates of deposit debut and most of Washington's financial institutions are expected to offer them. To be sold in denominations as low as $100, the CDs will enable "small savers" to get more than 10 percent interest on their money.

RENEWING FICA -- For those whose pay is more than $22,900 a year, the Social Security Administration will be taking a bigger bite out of paychecks, an increase of 13 percent or a rise from $1,403 last year to $1,587 this year.

P.S. -- One change, free to all, has come and gone. The last day of 1979 was one second longer than the 24-hour day, so that the National Bureau of Standards' atomic clocks would keep precise solar time.