Special Report

The Fastest Growing and Shrinking States

Fastest Shrinking States

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

8. North Dakota
> 1-yr. pop. growth: -0.02% (-155)
> Current population: 755,393 (4th smallest)
> 1-yr. change in median home value: 5.8% (15th highest)

North Dakota’s population exploded by 15.7% between 2007 and 2017 — one of the largest 10-year increases of any state and nearly double the 8.1% national growth rate over the same time. The growth was driven by a thriving economy, driven by hydrofracking in the Williston Basin and the state’s booming energy sector. However, growth — both of the state’s economy and population — has slowed in recent years. Between 2016 and 2017, North Dakota was one of only eight states to report a population decline. The decline is partially attributable to a slowing energy sector following the collapse in the price of oil in 2014. Oil prices, and with it the state’s economy, haven’t fully recovered since.

In the last year, about 6,700 more people left North Dakota to other states than moved to the state. The domestic outbound migration was enough to offset growth from births and international migration.

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Source: f11photo / Getty Images

7. Louisiana
> 1-yr. pop. growth: -0.04% (-1,824)
> Current population: 4.7 million (25th largest)
> 1-yr. change in median home value: 2.8% (9th lowest)

There were about 1,800 fewer people living in Louisiana in July 2017 than there were a year before. The decline was driven by people leaving the state for other places in the United States. Many likely left for economic reasons.

The unemployment rate in Louisiana stood at 5.1%, nearly the highest among states and well above the 4.4% national unemployment rate. A shrinking manufacturing sector can partially explain this. Economic output in manufacturing, the state’s largest industry, dipped by by 5% from mid-2016 to mid-2017.

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

6. Mississippi
> 1-yr. pop. growth: -0.04% (-1,315)
> Current population: 3.0 million (17th smallest)
> 1-yr. change in median home value: 5.5% (16th highest)

Despite reporting about 6,500 more births than deaths, and becoming the home of over 2,000 net new residents from foreign countries, Mississippi’s population is declining. In the past year, nearly 10,000 people left the state for other parts of the country.

A growing population can help drive economic growth, and a shrinking one can be both the result and added cause of slowing conditions — and in Mississippi GDP growth is sluggish. Mississippi’s GDP growth of 0.4% from mid-2016 to mid-2017 is well below the 2.3% national GDP growth over that time. Over the last decade, Mississippi’s economy has been at a near standstill, growing at an average pace of just 0.1% a year.

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Source: Eric Tessmer / Wikimedia Commons

5. Hawaii
> 1-yr. pop. growth: -0.08% (-1,145)
> Current population: 1.4 million (11th smallest)
> 1-yr. change in median home value: 4.3% (25th highest)

About 13,500 more people left Hawaii for other parts of the country than moved in over the past year. This decline was enough to offset growth from international migration and birth rate.

One potential explanation for the exodus is the state’s high cost of living. Goods and services in Hawaii are 18.4% more expensive than they are nationwide on average — making Hawaii the most expensive state to in in the country. Housing is particularly expensive. The typical home in Hawaii is worth 7.9 times the median household income. Nationwide, the typical home is worth 3.6 times the median income.

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