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.
19 Thoughts on “The Fastest-Growing States in America”
Would love to find a state with the most pet-friendly apartments!
NY state’s population grew by 4.2%. Best that those who want to leave get out; to make more room for others. The grass always looks greener (but the green is here in NY).
You got that right!
Would love to move to a state where common sense governing is the rule, is fiscally responsible, take law and order and quality of life seriously.
Did you find any?
You’d have to move south for that. NC, SC or FL.
For me I can’t wait to get out of NY (Long Island). I’m tired of the nickel and dime county of Suffolk. The roads are horrible and it takes 2-3 hours to get off the island. Taxes are insane and everything is expensive. I’m going to NC. NC is beautiful and dog friendly. NY is tax and govern you to death.
You sound exactly like me. They’ve taken all the fun out of living here. It’s a disaster to get off the island. It doesn’t even matter what time of day it is anymore. Just awful. I headed south myself.
So, am wondering, can someone tell me anything about North Carolina? Trying to get out of New Jersey as we all can testify about the financial stress. Any ideas pls.
North Carolina is growing faster than the national average, and is gaining one more representative in the U.S. Congress. Housing prices are cheaper but are increasing. I retired here from Long Island.
Seem population movement alone does not account for the increasing number of people in the states where population is growing. Where are all these people coming from?
Hi, Charles. Over 3.7 million people were born in the U.S. in just 2019, according to data by the CDC. So that accounts for some. There are also people moving to the U.S. from other countries.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
No, New Jersey increased in population by 5.7% between 2010 and 2020.
Yes New Jersey is losing many people because of the taxes here and the cost of living. Most people I know and spoke to have family members that lived in New Jersey left this state in the last couple of years and moved to Florida. I am hearing almost every week that a family has moved to Florida out of New Jersey. True!
I believe New Jersey is one of the states with a declining population. Is that correct?
As you can see from the map, NJ’s population increased by 5.7% over the decade (as Jany S. indicates).
Yes Jersey is losing there people every week to Florida because if the very High taxes and very high car insurance it’s crazy how high it is here.
No, NJ grew less than other states… only + 5.7%
Surprised that NJ was middle of the road. I can’t wait to get out of here, too expensive. NJ has had the biggest exodus for 3 years in a row. I guess the NYC yuppies who want a quick train ride into the city are balancing things out. The developers are going crazy with developments along NJ rail transit lines.