Special Report

This Is America's Fastest Shrinking State

A new U.S. Census Bureau study presents extraordinary population figures. The Census’ Vintage 2021 report shows that America’s population rose by only 0.1%, or 392,665, between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021. That is the lowest rate since the United States was founded. 

Population growth figures vary between states, with some growing and some shrinking. The fastest shrinking state in America is New York.

The Census report indicates that several factors contributed to the slow population growth. The most obvious is the more than 800,000 deaths caused by COVID-19. Other reasons are a lower number of immigrants and a drop in fertility. 

Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Population Division at the Census Bureau, commented: “Population growth has been slowing for years because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population.” (This is how many people are still alive from the year you were born.)

The study also includes state data, showing population changes both by absolute numbers and percentages. The population of Texas increased over the period by 310,228, the most of any state. It is currently the second largest state by population. Florida, the third largest state by population, had the second largest increase in the period, gaining 211,196. It was followed by Arizona with a 98,330 increase.

The states with the largest decline in absolute population were New York, with a population decrease of 319,020, California, with a decline of 261,902, and Illinois, with a population decline of 113,776. The years of California’s rapid population growth appear to be behind it, although it remains the largest state by population. (Not New York, but another state had the biggest population drop in the past 10 years.)

Based on percentage changes, New York is the fastest shrinking state in America. Its population declined by 1.6% over the measured period. No other state had a population drop of more than 1%. The Census researchers said the decrease in New York was largely due to “negative domestic migration,” which fell 352,185.

Click here to see this is America’s fastest shrinking state

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