The U.S population barely grew from 2010 to 2020, based on historic standards. According to the Census Bureau, the population of the United States on April 1, 2020, was 331.4 million, an increase of 22.7 million, or 7.4%, from 2010. That was the slowest growth rate in decades. Some states actually lost population.
Since then, COVID-19 has likely had a negative effect on population growth, but what about growth over the next two decades? According to projections, Texas is the state that will grow the most by 2040. (This is the state where the population has grown the most since the pandemic.)
Past trends can help explain future ones. Internal migration accounted for the growth in some sections of the country and attrition in others. In just the past 30 years, New York went from being the second most populous state to being the fourth, after being surpassed by Texas in 1994 and Florida in 2014. These shifts reflect broader trends. (This is the American city the most people are leaving.)
The states with the fastest-growing populations between 2010 and 2020 tended to be located in the South and the West. Meanwhile, over the same period, the states with the slowest population growth were disproportionately located in the Northeast.
According to a study published by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, these regional trends show no signs of slowing in the coming decades, and the population of 11 states, mostly in the West, will grow in excess of 20% by 2040. Meanwhile, nine, mostly Northeastern, states will be home to fewer people in 2040 than now.
To find the states that will grow the most by 2040, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service National Population Projections. States were ranked by the percentage change in population from 2020 to 2040. While some states are projected to see their population decline by 7% or more, the population of other states will expand by about a third.
These demographic shifts can have significant consequences for local economies and governments. Negative or slow population growth can lead to weaker economic growth and fewer economic opportunities, which in turn can push more people out of a given state. Population decline can also mean reduced revenue for state governments and limited funding for public works and services and reduced ability to meet budgetary obligations.
In Texas, the state that will grow the most, the population is projected to grow by 35%, or 10 million people, by 2040. Texas will then become the second most populous state with 40 million residents.
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