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This American Place Shrunk the Most in the Last Year

The grow rate of the American population slowed from 2010 to 2020 compared to most recent decades. It rose only a modest 7.4% to 331,449,281. The U.S. also became more urbanized. Almost 83% of Americans lived in urban areas. The center of population also continued to move further west, according to the Census. At the start of the 19th century, it was in Maryland. At the start of the 20th century, it had moved to Indiana, and last year, to was in Missouri.

The slow population growth trend was even more pronounced from April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021. It rose only .1% to 331,893,745. Some America counties are even shrinking. Interestingly, some of the shrinking counties are in fast growing states like Texas.

To identify the county that shrunk the most in the last year, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. counties and county equivalents were ranked based on the percent change in residents from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021.

The 50 U.S. counties (or county equivalents like boroughs, municipalities, or parishes) whose populations declined the most during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic vary in size, from tiny Loving County, Texas, population 57, to Kings County, New York, (Brooklyn) population 2.6 million. These 50 counties are home to about 12.4 million Americans, based on 2021 U.S. Census Bureau data.

The net population loss in the 50 counties we considered ranged from 2.5% to nearly 15%. While the median population of these counties was 5,045, nine represent 94% of the total population of the 50.

And example is that, while Loving County’s net loss of just 10 residents amounted to a 15% decline in population in the 12 months to July 1, 2021, New York County’s net loss of 110,000 residents during that time amounted to a 6.6% drop in Manhattan’s population.

The country that lost the most population was Loving County, Texas. Here are the details:

> Net population change, 2020-2021: -14.9% (-10 people)
> Net change from migration: -7 people
> Natural population change: -2 people
> Total population, 2021: 57
> Largest place in county: N/A

Methodology: To identify the county that shrunk the most in the last year, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed population change data from the U.S. Census Bureau. We ranked all U.S. counties and county equivalents – including Washington, D.C. – on the percent change in residents from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021.

The components of population change are net migration – the number of people who move to a given county less the number of people who move out – and natural population change, meaning the number of births in a given county less the number of deaths.

Due to margins of error in the census estimates, the raw population change number is close to, but not precisely equal to, the sum of net migration and natural population change.

Click here to read These Places Shrunk the Most in the Last Year

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