Long-term population decline can spell disaster for any economy. A shrinking population can result in labor shortages, lower tax revenue, higher per-capita debt, and weakened GDP growth. While the U.S. population has grown steadily every year for decades, not all parts of the country are benefitting equally.
Counting births and newly settled immigrants — less all deaths and people who left the country — the U.S. population grew by 0.7%, or about 2.3 million, from 2016 to 2017. On a state level, domestic migration — people moving from one state to another — typically accounts for the largest fluctuation in population, more than new births and international immigration.
People choose to move for any number of reasons. Climate, job opportunities, and regional affordability are common factors. In some states, net migration is driving population growth. In others, it is driving population declines.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the net population change by state from July 2016 to July 2017 to identify the fastest growing and shrinking states. Over that period, some states grew more than twice as fast as the nation as a whole, while others reported a population decline.