8 of the Top 10 Fastest-Growing US States are in the South or West

December 20, 2012

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Local & Directories / Small Biz

CensusBureau-Top-10-States-by-Population-Change-2012-v-2011-Dec2012The US population grew by 2.3 million between July 2011 and July 2012 to reach 313.9 million, according to the latest population estimates from the US Census Bureau. That equates to a growth rate of 0.75%. North Dakota was the fastest-growing state, with a 2.17% increase in population size, followed by the District of Columbia (2.15%), the only 2 states on the fastest-growing list outside of the South or West. Texas (1.67%) was the third-fastest growing state, also ranking as the state with the largest increase in population size, of 427,400.

Following Texas, California (357,500), Florida (257,300), Georgia (235,300), and North Carolina (101,000) saw the largest numeric change in population.

California Remains Easily the Most Populous State

While Texas saw the biggest increase in residents, California remains by far the most populous state in the nation, at just over 38 million residents, slightly up from 37.7 million the previous year. Texas is the second-most populous state, with just under 26.1 million residents. Interestingly, of Texas’ 427,425 new residents this year, roughly 59,000 (or about 1 in 7) moved from California, according to previous estimates from the Census Bureau.

New York remains the third-most populous state (19.57 million), barely ahead of Florida (19.32 million). Florida closed the gap on New York by virtue of its 235,300 increase in residents compared to New York’s relatively smaller 68,600 increase.

Rounding out the top 5 is Illinois (12.88 million), with about 112,000 more residents than Pennsylvania (12.76 million). Ohio (11.54 million) is the only other state with more than 10 million residents.

Wyoming the Least Populous State

On the other end of the spectrum, Wyoming counts as the state with the least amount of residents, at just 576,412. Vermont (626,011) is the next-smallest, followed by the District of Columbia (632,323) and North Dakota (699,628). So while those latter 2 boasted the fastest growth rates, they were working from among the smallest population counts to begin with.

Just 2 states saw their population size decline between July 2011 and July 2012, and the declines were marginal at best. They were: Rhode Island (-354; -0.03%) and Vermont (-581; -0.09%).

Other Findings:

  • The top 5 states in terms of numeric population growth accounted for more than half of the country’s total population growth.
  • Puerto Rico’s population size actually decreased, by 0.73% to 3.67 million. That puts Puerto Rico between Oklahoma and Connecticut on the population spectrum.
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