The COVID-19 pandemic made many Americans reconsider the importance of family, work-life balance and the comforts of home. A buzzed-about trend of 2020 focused on people leaving overpopulated cites for more rural and suburban areas, opting for larger homes with more breathing room.
How much of an impact did the migrations trends of last year have? Which states are now the most and least populated? See how regional populations have changed, according to the latest U.S. Census, including the fastest- and slowest-growing states.
U.S. Population Shifts
As a whole, the country saw a decent population increase over the past decade.
In 2020, the resident population of the United States was 331,449,281, an increase of 7.4% over the 2010 Census, according to the United States Census Bureau. Although the overall population has increased, population growth can vary greatly from state to state, as Americans favor certain locations over others.
The Big Population “Winners”
From 2010 to 2020, a handful of states saw an increase in population twice the average U.S. percent change. These states included Utah (+18.4%), Idaho (+17.3%) Texas (+15.9%), North Dakota (+15.8%) and Nevada (+15%).
Places like Colorado (+14.8%), Florida (+14.6%), Washington (+14.6%) and the District of Columbia (+14.6%) all saw decent increases as well.
Overall, the fastest growing state is Utah, followed by Idaho and Texas.
Populations in the Northeast
The Northeast area – from Maine (+2.6%), Vermont (+2.8%) and New Hampshire (+4.6%), to Massachusetts (+7.4%), Connecticut (+0.9%), Rhode Island (+4.3%) New York (+4.2%) and New Jersey (+5.7) – saw slight resident population increases.
New York still has the highest population in the Northeast, with a resident population of over 20.2 million, but it ranks as the fourth most populated state in the country. More people call California (39.5 million), Texas (29 million) and Florida (21.5 million) home.
The Population “Losers”
From 2010 to 2020, populations dropped the most in West Virginia (-3.2%), Mississippi (-0.2%) and Illinois (-0.1%). Puerto Rico saw the largest drop in resident population at -11.8%.
The slowest-growing states are Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, Wyoming and Pennsylvania, according the the Census Bureau.
Wyoming is also home to the least amount of people (576,851) in the country, followed by Vermont (643,077) and Alaska (733,391).
What’s the Significance?
Knowing which states’ populations are growing, along with the overall state population count, can help you decide where you might want to move.
What’s more, population shifts affect each state’s allotment in the U.S. House of Representatives. After each census, the results are used to calculate the number of House seats to which each state is entitled. Each state is entitled to at least one seat.
Seven House seats will shift due to the results of the latest numbers. Texas will gain two seats, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will each gain one. States losing a seat include New York, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
What do you think about the U.S. population changes? Tell us in the comments.