The population of the United States increased by 2.2 million people in 2016. Natural growth — the number of births less the number of deaths — accounted for most of the population increase, while the rest was due to international migration.
Population growth was far from even across the country. While populations in the South and West together grew by 1.1% in 2016, the Northeast and Midwest grew by just 0.1%. There were eight states, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, where the population declined. Meanwhile, the population of eight states grew by more than 1.6%.
A number of common factors affect migration patterns throughout the country. Americans move for economic and educational opportunities as well as quality of life factors such as environment and cost of living. Many of the fastest growing states are home to affordable, midsize cities with quality school systems and low unemployment.
To determine the fastest growing (and shrinking) states, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the one-year population change of all 50 states from 2015 to 2016 with data from the U.S. Census Bureau. All population estimates are as of July 1 of each year.