Between July of 2017 and July of 2018, the population of the United States grew by 0.6% overall, bringing the total count to over 327 million people. Some states saw significant increases in population numbers that contributed to this overall growth. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the top fastest-growing states during this period were Nevada and Idaho.
Both Nevada and Idaho saw their populations rise by 2.1% from July 2017 to July 2018. During this period, Nevada’s population rose to 3.03 million, while Idaho now has 1.75 million people living within its borders.
Utah didn’t fall too far behind, posting growth of 1.9%, bringing its population to 3.16 million. The fourth fastest-growing state was reported to be Arizona. This state’s population grew to 7.17 million – an increase of 1.7%.
The U.S. Census Bureau data show that the most significant population growth occurred throughout the South and West regions of the U.S. Each region recorded an increase of 0.9% during the same period. However, not all states in these regions saw growth. Some states – including Hawaii, Louisiana, and Mississippi – saw their numbers decline. In total, nine states saw a loss in population. This is primarily due to fewer births, more deaths, and no growth from domestic or international migration.
Fastest-Growing States in the U.S.
Nevada is the fastest-growing state in the United States. Between 2017 and 2018, Nevada’s population increased 2.1% from 2,972,405 to 3,034,392. A majority of new residents migrated from California followed by Texas, Arizona, and other western states. Unsurprisingly, because of this, real estate rental and leasing was the fastest growing industry in the states by total economic output due to the growing demand for housing. Additionally, this has led to growing home prices with the median home value in Nevada at $258,200.
Idaho also had a population growth of 2.1%, growing from 1,718,904 to 1,754,208. People from all over the U.S. are being drawn to Idaho for its affordability and the strong job market. Additionally, Boise has a rapidly growing tech sector. Many people migrating to Idaho are from California, most likely due to its affordability (especially compared to California) and because of a much lower population density. Despite the state’s rapid growth, it is the 12th-smallest state in the U.S.
Utah is the third-fastest growing state with a percent growth of 1.9%. From 2017 to 2018, Utah grew from 3,103,118 to 3,161,105; a growth of 57,987 people. Unlike other rapidly-growing states, the high rate of births accounted for the majority of the population growth in Utah rather than people migrating from other states. About 62% of Utah residents are Mormon, who have an average of 3.4 children compared to 2.1 children among all American adults.
Arizona is the fourth-fastest growing state with a percent growth of 1.7%. Arizona’s population increased by 122,770 from 7,048,876 in 2017 to 7,171,646 in 2018. Arizona is attractive because of its sunny weather, good job market, affordability, and a wide variety of entertainment options such as festivals, museums, celebrity-owned restaurants, and more. Arizona also has the Grand Canyon.
Florida is the fifth-fastest growing state in the U.S. with a growth percentage of 1.5%. Florida’s population grew by 322,513 people from 2017 to 2018; from 20,976,812 to 21,299,325. Florida is the third-largest state by population in the United States; however, even the large net migration to the state has not been enough to raise housing values back to their pre-recession values. Florida has no state income tax; the cost of living is relatively lower than other East Coast states and has warm weather year-round.
Fastest Shrinking States in the United States
Wyoming is experiencing the fastest population loss of all 50 states with a population growth of -1.85%. Wyoming has the smallest population in the United States of about 579,000 people. This is attributed to employment and stronger economies in the neighboring states around Wyoming. Wyoming lost about 17,000 jobs between 2015 and 2017, with Colorado being Wyoming’s number one competitor. Things are looking up for Wyoming as the state experienced a 3.7% GDP growth from 2017 to 2018.
West Virginia is the second-fastest shrinking state with a population growth of -1.54%. This likely because of West Virginia’s employment rate being above the national rate at 4.8% compared to 3.6%. Additionally, West Virginia’s poverty rate is the third-highest in the country at 19.1%. West Virginia also experienced more deaths than births between 2016 and 2017 as one of the states most affected by the opioid epidemic. West Virginia has experienced a -4.11% population growth since 2010.
Illinois has the third-fastest shrinking population in the U.S. with a population growth of -0.64%. Because of the population decline, the demand for housing has also declined, greatly affecting Illinois’s largest industry: real estate, rental, and leasing. Despite this, Illinois is still the sixth-largest state by population in the United States with 12.8 million people.
Hawaii is the fourth-fastest shrinking state with a population growth of -0.55%. The main factor contributing to this is that Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the United States. The median home value in Hawaii is $672,429 and the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,895 per month. Groceries are also significantly more expensive in Hawaii since it’s an island and most goods need to be shipped in.
New York is the fifth-fastest shrinking state with a population growth of -0.52%. Between July 2017 and July 2018, 180,306 people left New York and 131,746 moved to New York, a net loss of 48,560 people. In 2017, about 131 people left New York City every day. This is caused by the cost of living in New York as a whole and the fast pace of New York City. Some people can no longer afford to live there and others are burned out from the hustle and bustle of the city.