Special Report

31 States Where Population Has Gone Up Since the Pandemic

It will soon be two years since the pandemic disrupted life in the United States, causing some people to reconsider where they live and how they work. One major consequence of the outbreak has been the relocation of people, mostly out of densely populated urban areas to parts of the country where it is much easier to social distance. There are political consequences to population changes. States gaining people may end up with more seats in the House of Representatives. (See how the population of every state has changed in the last 100 years.)

To identify the states that have grown the most since the pandemic, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the 1-year population change from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 according to the US Census Bureau. The average number of new COVID-19 cases in the past seven days comes from 24/7 Wall St.’s own COVID calculator for state totals.

Some states where the population increased during the pandemic were growing anyway as the result of the longtime trend of Americans moving out of Rust Belt states like Michigan and Ohio and Northeastern states like New York and heading to warmer climates (and places with lower taxes) such as Florida, Arizona, and Texas. In addition, some people chose new states where COVID mandates were non-existent or less severe – for instance, South Dakota as well as Florida and Texas.

People also left more densely populated states of New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maryland for less densely populated locations like Nevada, Idaho, Montana, and Utah. All of these have a population density of fewer than 30 residents per square mile, and all experienced the largest population increases over the period we tracked, growing by more than 1%. (By population, these are currently the largest states in America.)

Click here to see the states that have grown most since the pandemic began

Delaware was an outlier. The nation’s first state is also the fifth-most densely populated, at 512 people per square mile – yet the state experienced a population surge significant enough to push it over the 1 million mark. A possible reason might be an outflow of people fleeing Washington, D.C.

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