The Fastest Shrinking County in America

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 population estimates were just released. The analysis covers 3,144 counties and looks at their populations at the midpoint of 2022, and, in most cases, compares it to the population at mid-2021. (Here are seven major American cities that have lost half their populations.)

Census Bureau experts saw a pattern: “All 10 of the top fastest-growing counties were in the South or West, and 9 of the 10 were metropolitan counties.” Dr. Christine Hartley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections in the Census Bureau’s population division, commented: “The migration and growth patterns for counties edged closer to pre-pandemic levels this year.”

Many of America’s largest counties did not lose people over the period. Several that had been bleeding people at least reached a point of population equilibrium.

The county that lost the most people is also America’s largest. Los Angeles, with a total population of 9,721,138, lost 90,704. One measure of how huge it is comes from a comparison to the second largest country, Cook County, which includes Chicago and had a population of 5,109,292.

Of the 10 counties that lost the most people, all lost at least 12,000. Three lost at least 50,000. Six lost over 20,000. Three of five New York City counties made the list. All had total populations in excess of 1.2 million

These are the 10 counties that lost the most people:

County 2022 Population Decline
Los Angeles, Calif. 9,721,138 −90,704
Cook, Ill. 5,109,292 −68,314
Queens, N.Y. 2,278,029 −50,112
Kings, N.Y. 2,590,516 −46,970
Bronx, N.Y. 1,379,946 −41,143
Philadelphia, Pa. 1,567,258 −22,222
Wayne, Mich. 1,757,043 −16,030
Santa Clara, Calif. 1,870,945 −15,650
Alameda, Calif. 1,628,997 −14,840
Allegheny, Pa. 1,233,253 −12,192

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