Special Report

The Fastest Growing and Shrinking States

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4. Alaska
> 1-yr. pop. growth: -0.23% (-1,727)
> Current population: 739,795 (3rd smallest)
> 1-yr. change in median home value: 2.0% (5th lowest)

Though more people were born in Alaska than died, and there was a net inflow from international immigration over the past year, the state’s population shrank. The decline was driven by residents moving to other parts of the country.

Population decline leads to reduced demand for housing, which can in turn make real estate less valuable. In Alaska, the typical home appreciated in value by just 2.0% from 2016 to 2017, far less than the 6.1% appreciation of the typical American home value over that time.

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3. Illinois
> 1-yr. pop. growth: -0.26% (-33,703)
> Current population: 12.8 million (6th largest)
> 1-yr. change in median home value: 4.7% (22nd highest)

People have been moving out of Illinois en masse for years. Due almost entirely to outbound migration, by mid-2017, Illinois had 33,703 fewer residents compared to a year before and 76,471 fewer residents compared to five years before. Population decline often results in reduced demand for housing, and this has strained Illinois’s largest industry, the real estate, rental, and leasing industry. Economic output of the industry dipped by 2.0% from mid-2016 to mid-2017, compared to 0.9% growth nationwide over the same period.

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2. West Virginia
> 1-yr. pop. growth: -0.70% (-12,780)
> Current population: 1.8 million (13th smallest)
> 1-yr. change in median home value: 1.6% (3rd lowest)

Like every other state on this list, more people are leaving West Virginia than moving in. Many may be leaving for better economic opportunities. The unemployment in the state stood at 5.2% in 2017, nearly the highest jamong states and well above the comparable 4.4% national rate. Additionally, West Virginia’s 19.1% poverty rate is higher than all but three other states.

West Virginia is the only state in the country to report more deaths than births between 2016 and 2017. One of the hardest hit states by the opioid epidemic, nearly 1,000 West Virginia residents died of a drug overdose in 2017, an 11.2% increase from the previous year.

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1. Wyoming
> 1-yr. pop. growth: 0.47% (-5,595)
> Current population: 579,315 (the smallest)
> 1-yr. change in median home value: 2.3% (8th lowest)

No state lost a larger share of its residents over the past year than Wyoming. Wyoming’s population, already the smallest of any state, shrank by 5,600 — or 1.0% — between July 2016 and July 2017.

Despite the nation-leading population decline, Wyoming’s economy is growing rapidly — thanks in part to increased output in the mining, quarrying, and gas extraction industry. Wyoming’s GDP grew by 3.7% from mid-2016 to mid-2017, outpacing the 2.3% U.S. GDP growth. Over the same period, Wyoming’s largest industry — mining, quarrying, and gas extraction — grew by 22.2%.

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