The United States as a whole is the third-most-populous country in the world, with an estimated population of 339,172,809 people as of January 2023. Within that total, however, the individual states showcase a vast range of populations, from more than 40 million residents in California to fewer than a million in Wyoming.
* Values displayed reflect populations as of January 2023. For dynamically updated real-time population data, consult the table below.
By far the most populous state in the United States is California, which has more than 40 million residents and comprises nearly 12% of the country’s total population. If California were a country, it would have the fourth- or fifth-largest economy in the world and the 38th-highest population, ahead of countries including Canada, Australia, Peru, and Greece.
Texas has the second-largest population of any US state, with more than 30 million residents (9% of the US total) as of 2023. Moreover, Texas has a growth rate of 1.34% per year, while California’s growth rate is notably lower at 0.57%. The impact of such differing growth rates is obvious when viewed over time: Since 2010, the population of Texas has increased by more than 20%, while California has grown just under 12%.
The third-most-populated state in the US is Florida, with a population of more than 22.3 million and a growth rate of 1.24% per year, and the state of New York ranks fourth. About half of the 20.40 million people who live in the state of New York reside in New York City. It is notable that the three most populous states in the US are among the top ten states with the longest coastlines, and both California and Texas are among the largest states in the union by land area.
States in New England, along the Northeast seaboard, tend to be quite small geographically but with higher populations. Rhode Island (pop. 1,110,822) is the smallest state by land area, but it has a higher population than many larger states, including Alaska (740,339), both North and South Dakota (811,044 and 908,414, respectively), and Wyoming (580,817).
** Values displayed reflect populations as of January 2023. For dynamically updated real-time population data, consult the table below.
The smallest state by population is Wyoming, with fewer than 600,000 residents and an annual growth rate that has trended negative at times in the past. As of early 2023, however, the only states with negative growth rates were West Virginia (-0.33%), Mississippi (-0.02%), and Illinois (-0.01%).
Puerto Rico is a territory rather than a state, despite the fact that it has a larger population than 18 US states in 2023. However, Puerto Rico is also experiencing negative population growth (-1.38%), higher than any state in the Continental US. The District of Columbia, known more commonly as Washington DC, is also not a state (rather, it is a Federal District). However, if it were, its population of 715,891 would qualify it as the third-smallest state. Washington DC posts a growth rate of 1.24%.
The population of the United States is distributed unevenly across the 50 states, Washington DC, and territories such as Puerto Rico. States on the country's border tend to be the most populous, whether they be located on the West Coast (California), the East Coast (New York, Florida, arguably Pennsylvania), or the southern border (Texas, Florida again). Conversely, interior states such as those in the Great Plains and Midwest tend to be less populous. However, exceptions do exist—for example, the Great Lakes state of Illinois has the sixth-largest population of any state despite its Midwestern location.
Most states in the US are currently experiencing population growth. The greatest rate of growth at the start of 2023 belonged to Utah (1.50%), followed by Idaho (1.43%) and Texas (1.34%). By comparison, the state with the lowest population growth at the start of 2023 was West Virginia, whose population shrank by 0.33%.
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*** Values displayed reflect rates as of January 2023. For dynamically updated real-time data, consult the table below.
Estimates indicate that Alabama’s population has grown to 5,097,641 people (and counting) as of 2023. As such, Alabama comprises approximately 1.51% of the entire US population and ranks as the 24th-most-populated state in the US. Alabama's population experienced an increase of 6.65% from 2010 to 2023, which ranks as the 27th-highest/24th-lowest during that time. Alabama's population density of 101 people per square mile also ranks 27th-highest among states, and is slightly higher than the US national population density of 96 people/mi².
Alabama's largest city is Huntsville, with a 2023 population of 225,476 people. Montgomery, the Alabama state capital, is home to an estimated 199,055 people. Alabama's population is distributed relatively evenly in comparison with many other states, with the top ten most populous cities in the state spread across eight counties and five distinct regions of the state. Alabama's state nickname is the "Yellowhammer State", after a woodpecker with yellow plumage whose name became a slang term for Alabama's confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
Nicknamed the "Last Frontier", Alaska is unique among the US states due to its unusual daylight schedule and extreme cold. The area of Alaska is 663,267 square miles (mi²), making it by far the largest US state in area. The second-largest state is Texas at 268,581 square miles—less than half the size of Alaska.
Despite its size, Alaska is the third-least-populated state, home to only 740,339 residents as of 2023. As a result, Alaska makes up only 0.22% of the US population and boasts a population density of roughly one person per square mile, the lowest in the US and six times lower than the state with the next-lowest density (Wyoming, with 6 people/mi²). The US national population density is 96 people/mi². Alaska's overall growth since the 2010 census indicates a population increase of approximately 4.24%. Alaska's largest city, Anchorage, is home to more than 40% of the state's total population.
According to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, Alaska's population includes 8,748 military veterans per 100,000 residents, the highest percentage of veterans of any state in the US. Alaska has the highest rate of gun violence of any US state, as well as the more pleasant distinctions of having the second-cleanest air quality and the lowest income inequality of any state.
The latest census estimates the population of Arizona at approximately 7,379,346 people at the start of 2023, which constitutes 2.19% of the total US population. Arizona has seen significant population growth since the 2010 census—a 15.45% growth rate—which makes it the ninth-fastest-growing state in the union during this period.
Between July 2017 and July 2018, Arizona's Maricopa County added 200+ people per day, for a total of more than 81,000 people. Home to cities including Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Glendale, Arizona's Maricopa County was the fourth-most-populated county in the US and attracted more net migration than any other county in the US.
The sixth-largest state in the country by total area, Arizona encompasses 113,990 square miles (mi²). This size is a major reason that despite its recent growth, The "Grand Canyon State" has a below-average population density of 65 people per square mile, notably lower than the US national density of 96 people/mi², and ranks as the 32nd-highest/19th-lowest in the country.
Arizona has the nation's second-largest percentage of Native American residents—13.32%—second only to Alaska (19.8%) and more than any other state in the lower 48. It is also one of the four corners states, the only four states in the US that all touch one another at a single point.
Arkansas, with a name derived from the Siouan Quapaw tribe of Native Americans, is a landlocked state whose diverse geography ranges from the mountains of the Ozarks to the forests of the Arkansas Timberlands and the lowlands of the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta. At the start of 2023, the Arkansas population was estimated to include 3,040,207 residents, which ranked as the 33rd-highest/18th-smallest state population in the country and made up 0.9% of the total US population.
Arkansas' population density is 58 people per square mile (mi²), significantly below the national population density of approximately 96 people/mi² as of 2023. This places Arkansas in a rough three-way tie with Colorado and Iowa as states with the 35th-37th least-dense populations. Little Rock serves as the state’s capital and is the state’s largest city in terms of population, with just over 205,000 residents. Arkansas enjoys a number of state nicknames, including the "Natural State", the "Land of Opportunity", and the "Wonder State".
California is the most populated state in the US, boasting an estimated 2023 population of 40,223,504 people and making up nearly 12% of the national population. Despite the fact that it is the country's 3rd largest state by area, the "Golden State") has a population density of 258 people/mi², the 11th-highest in the country. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim and San Francisco/Oakland are the second-most- and 14th-most-populated urban areas in the US. With approximately 13,200,000 residents in its metropolitan area, Los Angeles is the most populous city in California and the second-most-heavily populated in the United States, exceeded only by New York City.
California has the largest economy and highest gross domestic product (GDP) of any US state, with current-dollar GDP projected to exceed $3.6 trillion by the end of 2022, and is in fact the largest sub-national economy in the world (Texas and New York are second and third). If California were a country, its economy would rank as the fourth- or fifth-highest in the world.
California is the most culturally diverse state in the US, and boasts the second-largest family size per state in the US, behind only Utah. News stories about the number of people leaving California for other states can be misleading. California is not losing population and has experienced a 7.97% growth rate—higher than that of 26 other states—since the 2010 census.
Thanks in large part to its massive population, in terms of raw numbers (rather than percentages), California is home to the most veterans, the most homeless people (161,548),, the most immigrants, the most transgender individuals,, and the highest total number of Hispanic residents of any state in the US. California also produces roughly 3.66 million barrels of beer per year, more than any other state in the union and more than twice as many as any state other than Pennsylvania.
Located among the mountain states in the Western US and highlighted by the ruggedly picturesque Rocky Mountains, the "Centennial State" Colorado has achieved the sixth-highest population growth in the country between 2010 and 2023. The state's population is estimated to have expanded from 5,048,281 in 2010 to 5,997,070 by early 2023, an increase of 19.25%.
Despite its rate of growth, Colorado retains a below-average population density of 58 people/mi², notably less than the US national population density of 96 people/mi². Colorado is the eighth-largest state in the US by area and covers 104,094 square miles (mi²), and a significant portion of the state's area is mountainous, which has inspired one of the state's nicknames, the "Rocky Mountain State".
Colorado's population is largely concentrated along the eastern edge of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, which cuts vertically through the rough center of the state. All ten of the state's most populous cities lie along this path, including the capital, Denver (pop. 750,130), Colorado Springs (497,720), Aurora (404,615), and Fort Collins (177,556). Colorado is one of the four corners states, which meet at a single geographic point.
Situated along the Eastern seaboard, the coastal state Connecticut is one of the six states in America's "New England" region. Connecticut’s population actually shrank from 3,579,125 in 2010 to 3,567,871 in 2019, but recovered and grew to 3,615,499 by the start of 2023, amounting to 1.07% of the total US population. Connecticut's population growth of 1.16% from 2010 to 2023 is the lowest positive growth of any state, although three states—West Virginia, Mississippi, and Illinois—experienced negative population growth during that time.
Connecticut is the third-smallest state by area, covering 5,543 square miles (mi²). The state's diminutive size likely contributes to its notably high population density of 747 people per square mile, which ranks as the fourth-highest in the country and massively exceeds the national population density of 96 people/mi².
Connecticut enacted the first speed limit for motor vehicles in the United States, 12 miles per hour in the city and 15 mph in the country, in 1901. Connecticut's Wadsworth Art Museum was founded in 1842 and is the oldest art museum in the United States. Connecticut is often nicknamed the "Constitution State".
The country's second-smallest state by area at 2,489 square miles (mi²), Delaware was home to roughly 1,017,551 individuals as of 2023. This proved to be an increase of 13.32% from the country's 2010 population, the 13th-highest/38th-lowest population increase in the US. Though Delaware is the least-populated state on the East Coast, it nonetheless boasts the country's sixth-highest population density at 522 people/mi²—more than five times higher than the US national density of 96 people/mi². This is thanks in no small part to Delaware's comparatively small total area of 2,489 mi².
Although Dover (pop. 40,411) is the capital of Delaware, it is only the second-most-populated city in the state. The city of Wilmington has a population of 70,913 people. Historically, Delaware is known for being the first territory to ratify the proposed US Constitution of 1787, thus becoming the first US state. This has led to what is arguably Delaware's most popular state nickname, the "First State".
The District of Columbia, informally known as Washington, DC, is the capital of the United States. Although it is technically a Federal District rather than a state, the US Census Bureau treats the District of Columbia as the equivalent to a state for statistical purposes. Washington DC is unique in that during the workweek, commuters from surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia raise the city’s daytime population to more than one million people—however, the actual residential population was estimated to be 715,891 as of 2023, which exceeds the populations of Wyoming and Vermont.
Washington DC has experienced significant growth of 18.97% from 2010 to 2023, which would rank as the 7th-highest improvement if Washington DC was a state. Perhaps humorously, although Washington DC has a much smaller area than any state, its population is closest to that of Alaska (pop. 740,339)—the nation's largest state in terms of area.
The difference in total area between Alaska and the District of Colombia is arguably best demonstrated by comparing their population densities. Alaska's population density of one (1) person/mi² is the lowest in the US. By comparison, the population density of Washington DC is 11,736 people/mi²—which is both ten times higher than that of the most densely populated state (New Jersey at 1,283 people/mi²) and also higher than all but ten US cities.
Washington DC has a lower median age than any state other than Utah. It also has a higher percentage of black residents (46,53%) and also a higher average per-capita income than any fully fledged state.
The Gulf State Florida is the third most populous state in the nation, with an estimated 22,359,251 people at the start of 2023. This figure indicates 18.92%% growth since the 2010 census, the sixth-highest percentage increase in the country. Florida's population makes up 6.62% of the US total and the state's population density is 417 people/mi², the eighth-highest in the country.
Florida is home to several densely populated cities. The largest of these is Jacksonville, whose population of 987,960 exceeds the populations of Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia. Tallahassee, the state capital, has a population of just over 200,000 people and is the ninth-most-populous city in the state.
Nicknamed the "Sunshine State", Florida boasts many beaches and a warm climate, which makes the state a trendy spot for both vacations and those seeking sunny weather all year long. The state's conservative political stance is also a draw for a significant number of incoming residents, a trend also noted in other states such as Texas and Tennessee. Florida also occupies the top spot on the list of flattest states in the US.
Also known as the "Peach State", Georgia has an estimated 2023 population of 11,019,186 residents—the eighth-most in the US—representing approximately 3.26% of the American populace. Located just above Florida on the southern Atlantic coast, Georgia is the 24th-largest state geographically, with a total area of 59,425 mi². Georgia's population density of 192 people per square mile is roughly twice that of the country's collective population density of approximately 94 people/mi².
The largest city in Georgia is Atlanta, which has a population of 498,715 in the city proper and 6,144,050 in its greater metropolitan area—which, due to the peculiarities of metropolitan-area boundaries, stretches across 29 counties (8,376 square miles) and includes more than 140 cities and towns. Georgia's most populated county is Fulton County, which boasts more than one million residents. Georgia is divided into 159 counties in total, more than any other state except for Texas, which has 254 counties and is more than four times larger than Georgia.
The only island state in the US, Hawaii is estimated to have a population of approximately 1,483,762 as of 2023, making it the 40th state out of 50 in terms of total population. Hawaii's population has grown by 9.08% since 2010, putting it near the middle of the pack in terms of percentage growth.
Geographically, Hawaii is made up of eight major islands: Kahoolawe, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Niihau, Oahu, and the "big island" after which the state is named, Hawaii. All are populated except for the smallest, Kahoolawe, which has no permanent residents and served as a military bombing range before becoming an island preserve in the 1990s. Hawaii also includes dozens of smaller volcanic islands for a total of 137 islands and an area of approximately 10,932 mi² (the 8th-smallest in the US).
In matching the country's 11th-smallest population with the 8th-smallest area, Hawaii achieves a comparatively high population density of 231 people per square mile, the 12th-highest in the country. Hawaii's population has grown by 9.08% since 2010 (23rd-highest) and comprises 0.44% of the total US population. Located on the island of Oahu, Honolulu is both the largest city and the largest county in Hawaii, claiming nearly 350,399 people on its own. At the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii is also home to the smallest county in the US: Kalawao County, which has an area of 13.21 mi² and is home to 88 people.
According to the US Census Bureau, Hawaii is the third-most-diverse state in the US, as well as the state with the highest percentage of non-whites. Unsurprisingly given its geographical location, Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian residents of any state. Hawaii has the best air quality or any state, is considered the happiest state in the US, and enjoys several colorful state nicknames, including the "Aloha State", the "Pineapple State", and the "Rainbow State".
Idaho is the 14th-largest state in the US in terms of total area (83,569 mi²) and the 38th in population, with 1,920,562 people. This balance is reflected in the state's population density of 23 people per square mile, which ranks as the 7th-lowest in the US. However, Idaho has experienced significant population growth in recent years, gaining more than 325,000 new residents from 2010 to 2023. This computed to a population increase of 22.52%, the second-highest in the country (behind Utah), making Idaho one of the fastest growing states in the US.
What Idaho lacks in population, it arguably makes up for in rugged natural beauty. Attractions in Idaho include the Rocky Mountains, expansive lakes, and Hells Canyon (spelled with no apostrophe)—a winding river gorge whose depth of 7,993 feet exceeds that of the Grand Canyon. The most populated city in the "Gem State" is the capital city, Boise, which boasts approximately 244,687 residents.
According to the latest estimates, the population of Illinois is approximately 12,807,072 people as of 2023. Although the "Land of Lincoln" experienced immense growth throughout the 19th century, it is now one of only three states whose populations have declined in the period spanning from 2010 to 2023. Overall, Illinois' population decreased by roughly 23,500 people (0.18%) during this time. Despite its current decrease in population, Illinois remains the sixth most populated state in the US and makes up 3.79% of the country's total population.
The total area of Illinois encompasses 57,914 square miles, with a population density of 231 people per square mile (mi²). Much of the population is concentrated in the northeastern area of the state, where the city of Chicago (the 3rd-largest in the US) is home to approximately 2,761,625 people, the greater Chicagoland area includes nearly 10 million people in not only Illinois but also Indiana and Wisconsin, and Cook County is the second-most-populous in the country (behind Los Angeles county).
Outside of Chicago, Illinois is largely rural—72 of the state's 102 counties have fewer than 50,000 residents—and focuses heavily on agriculture. Illinois is one of the leading corn-producing states in the US. The second-smallest county in Illinois by area (182 mi²), Hardin County, is also the smallest by population, reporting 3,649 residents in the 2020 census.
Nicknamed the "Hoosier State" and known for its rustic individualism, Indiana shares its borders with Michigan to the north, Ohio to the east, Kentucky to the south-southeast, and Illinois to the west. It is estimated to have a population of about 6,876,047 and has grown by 6.05% since 2010. Indiana makes up approximately 2.04% of the U.S. population as a whole.
The state of Indiana covers 36,420 mi², making it the 38th-largest state by total area; however, its population makes it the 17th-most-populous state in the country, with a density of 192 people per square mile (mi²). The largest city in Indiana is its capital, Indianapolis, which has more than 907,802 residents. Indiana’s smallest city is likely Burnettsville, which claimed 390 residents in the 2020 census.
Like many states in the Midwest, Indiana has a strong agricultural industry and joins its neighbor, Illinois, as part of the [corn belt] (/state-rankings/corn-belt-states). The only seven-letter state in its immediate area, Indiana is also one of the Great Lakes states.
Located in the Midwestern United States, Iowa shares its borders with Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Iowa's population at the start of 2023 was an estimated 3,233,572, making Iowa the 31st most populated state in the US, though it is the 26th-largest state by total area. Iowa's population has grown by 6.15% since 2012, and the state currently contributes 0.96% of the total US population.
Iowa is divided into 99 counties. The most populous of these, Polk County, is located near the center of the state and includes three of the state's top ten largest cities: Des Moines (217,343), which serves as the state's capital and was once designated as the Wealthiest City in America, as well as West Des Moine (72,356) and Ankeny (74,577). The "Hawkeye State's" population is sparse, with a density of 58 people per square mile (mi²), well below the national density of 96 people/mi². Low population density is common in states with an agriculture-based economy, such as Iowa, which is one of the most prolific corn-producing states in the US.
Located nearly in the center of the US, the six-letter corn-belt state of Kansas is estimated to have a population of approximately 2,963,308 people as of 2023, making the "Jayhawk state" the 36th-most-populated in the US. Kansas' population shows slight growth of 3.86% since 2010, the 14th-lowest increase in the US. In terms of total area, however, Kansas is the 15th-largest state, covering 82,278 square miles (mi²). This blend of large area with a smallish population gives Kansas a population density of 36 people per square mile (mi²), the 10th-lowest in the nation and substantially under the national density of 96 people/mi².
Kansas has more than 6,000 ghost towns due to a trend called rural flight, in which residents migrate from the countryside to the cities, often a reflection of the evolving job market and industrial growth. The cities, however, appear quite healthy. Wichita, the state's largest city, boasts a population of 402,080 residents and is home to the state's largest airport: Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.
Kentucky is the 27th most populated state in the US, with a 2023 population of 4,555,777 people. This number represents an approximate growth of 4.99% from the 2010 census (33rd-largest in the US), and means Kentucky makes up 1.35% of the national population. Also known as the "Bluegrass State", Kentucky is the 36th-largest state in terms of area, covering 40,408 square miles (mi²).
Kentucky boasts a population density of 115 people per square mile, which is both above the national density of 96/mi² and fairly equal across rural and urban areas. Geographically, Kentucky is the northernmost state in the Bible Belt, forms a portion of the border between Appalachia and the Great Plains states, and stands between the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt. Kentucky has the unfortunate distinction of having a higher rate of cancer than any other state.
Situated on the Gulf of Mexico at the base of the Mississippi River Delta, the Cotton Belt state Louisiana is home to approximately 4,695,071 people as of 2023, or 1.39% of the US population. The "Pelican State" ranks 25th in the United States in terms of population and 31st in area, for a 26th-place population density of 109 people per square miles (mi²), a bit higher than the national average of 96 people/mi².
Louisiana's population has grown by 3.57% since the nationwide census in 2010, a percentage increase lower than that of 40 other states. Louisiana was one of 11 regions (of 52 total: the 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico), which decreased in population from 2018 to 2019, though all but three (West Virginia, Mississippi, and Illinois) have since returned to positive growth.
New Orleans is Louisiana's largest city, home to roughly 396,048 residents. The second-largest city is Baton Rouge, the state capital, with 226,864 residents. A Bible Belt state and the namesake of the Louisiana purchase, Louisiana is also one of the thirteen states that seceded during the buildup to the American Civil War.
Sitting at the most northeastern tip of the U.S., Maine (the "Pine Tree State") has the 9th-smallest population in the US at 1,372,559 people—though it has shown slight growth of 3.33% since 2010. Also the 12th-smallest state in terms of total area at 35,380 square miles (mi²), Maine has a population density of 45 people per square mile. This is well below the national density of 96 people/mi² as of 2023 and ranks as the least-densely populated state in New England.
Nearly half of Maine’s population resides in and around Portland, with 69,071 residents in the city itself and more than 550,000 in its greater metropolitan area. Despite this urban concentration, Maine is considered the most rural state in the US. Its capital, Augusta, has 24,364 residents and its smallest city, Littlejohn Island, is home to barely 100 people. A coastal state, Maine also boasts the easternmost city in the United States, the appropriately named Eastport—which boasts roughly 1,276 residents and consists almost entirely of islands connected by causeways.
The US Census Bureau ranks Maine as the whitest state in the US, with a population that is 94.4% caucasian, as well as the second-least-diverse state. Maine also has the highest median age of any state and one of the highest percentages of rural inhabitants of any state.
Maryland is the ninth-smallest state in the country in terms of total area (12,406 square miles), but has the 18th-largest population (6,298,325 at the start of 2023). As a result, the "Old Line State" has a population density of 649 people per square mile (mi²), the fifth-highest in the US and more than six times the national density of 96 people/mi². Maryland's population increased by 9.09% from 2010 to 2023, the 22nd-highest increase of any state.
Maryland is divided into 23 counties, 16 of which border water. The state's most populated county is Montgomery Country, which borders Washington DC and is home to 1,089,145 residents as of 2023—a 12.08% increase since 2010. Although Montgomery County contains four of the state's ten most populous cities, the single largest city in Maryland—Baltimore, whose population of 575,133 is more than five times that of the second-largest city—is located in its own territory and operates as an unofficial 24th county.
While most state capitals are among the top five largest cities in their respective states, Maryland's state capital, Annapolis, is the 24th-largest city in the state. On an unrelated note, in 2021, Maryland ranked as the state with the highest average internet speeds in the country.
Like fellow Northeastern states Rhode Island and Connecticut, Massachusetts—the "Bay State"—is smaller than most states (10,544 mi², seventh-smallest) but possesses a very high population density. Massachusetts' population density is 920 people per square mile (mi²), the third-highest in the country and nearly ten times the US national density of 96 people/mi².
As of 2023, Massachusetts has an estimated population of 7,174,604 (2.13% of the country's total), making it the 15th-most-populous state in the US. This represents a 9.58% increase in population from 2010 to 2023, the 21st-highest of any state (and the highest of the New England states). The city of Boston, 2023 population 693,062, is both the capital of and the largest city in Massachusetts.
The Midwestern state Michigan is both the only state to consist of two peninsulas, and also the only state that touches four of the Great Lakes—no other state touches more than two. As of 2023, the "Wolverine State" had an estimated population of 10,135,438 people—the 10th-largest population in the US—and accounted for about 3% of the nation's total population. Michigan's population rose by 2.55% between 2010 and 2023, the fifth-lowest rise by any state, and its population density of 179 people per square mile (mi²) is the 18th-highest in the US, nearly double the national density of 96 people/mi².
The largest city in Michigan is Detroit, with a 2023 population of around 616,710 people. Detroit was once the unquestionable leader of the automotive industry, and earned the city the nickname "Motor City." Since that time, however, the automotive industry has decentralized to many other states, leading to significant urban decay in Detroit.
Michigan is a ban-the-box state, one of a handful of states that allow online gambling, one of the leading providers of live Christmas trees in the US, the home state of both Domino's and Little Caesar's pizza, and one of just over a dozen states in which residents may legally keep pet deer.
Located in the Great Lakes region of the northern Midwest, Minnesota has a 2023 population of 5,827,265 people (29th-largest) spread across an area of 86,936 square miles (12th-largest), giving it a population density of 73 people per square mile (30th-highest). Minnesota's population has grown by 9.87% since 2010 (19th-most), and the state is home to 1.73% of the total US population.
The "North Star State" is known for its rugged winters—thanks to the peculiar border of Lake of the Woods, Minnesota extends further to the north than any other state in the lower 48—as well as for its numerous lakes and forested mountains. The city's urban population is highly concentrated, with eight of the state's ten most populous cities located in the Twin Cities region. This region, named after Minneapolis (444,168) and St Paul (319,465), ultimately hosts roughly 60% of the state's total population.
Minnesota is regarded as one of the smartest states in the US. Minnesota is also considered the nicest state in the US as ranked by tourists, and was voted the second-best state to live in by US News and World Report.
Located in the Southeastern United States, the gulf state Mississippi is the 35th most populated state in the US, with a 2023 population of 2,959,473 people. Nicknamed the "Magnolia State", Mississippi posted a net population decrease of -0.26% from 2010 to 2023—joining West Virginia (-4.16%) and Illinois (-0.18%) as the only three states to lose population during that time period. The reduction is largely attributed to the competitive strength of out-of-state job markets.
The city of Jackson is both the capital of Mississippi and its largest city, home to approximately 147,758 residents as of 2023. Like the state as a whole, Jackson has seen a slight population decrease from 2010 to 2023—however, many smaller cities in the state have grown during this time, including Leakesville (6.62%), Oxford (2.43%), and Hattiesburg (0.56%).
Mississippi is considered one of the most rural states in the US, and is also the state with the highest percentage of black residents (38.83%). Only the non-state District of Colombia's percentage of black residents is higher. Mississippi also has the lowest cost of living in the United States.
Only one other state in the US has as many neighbors as the landlocked state of Missouri, which borders eight other states: Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee (the other state with eight neighbors), Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. The "Show-Me State" covers 69,707 square miles (mi²) and has an estimated 2023 population of 6,204,710 people (1.84% of the national total), the 21st-largest in the US.
Missouri's population density is 90 people per square mile (mi²), nearly matching the US national density of 96 people/mi². Missouri experienced the 11th-slowest population growth of any state in the US from 2010 to 2023, rising by 3.60%.
As in many states, Missouri’s population is unevenly spread. Of the state's 25 most populous cities, six are clustered in the area of Kansas City (pop. 522,580), and 13 are located in the greater St Louis (pop. 296,262) area. Nevertheless, approximately a third of Missouri's inhabitants live in rural areas—although trends indicate such may not always be the case.
Following patterns seen in many states across the US, Missouri's less-populated counties tend to have experienced greater reductions (or slower growth) than its more populated, urban counties. Of the 20 counties which experienced the greatest population loss between 2010 and 2023, only two have more than 20,000 people. Conversely, of the 20 counties with the greatest growth, only four have fewer than 50,000 people.
Historically, Missouri is known for the role it played in the Western Expansion of the United States, and was the eastern send-off point for the Pony Express, the Oregon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail and the California Trail. In current times, Missouri is the third-largest beef producer in the United States.
The fifth-most-rural state in the US, Montana's state nicknames include the "Treasure State" for its abundance of gold mines, and the “Big Sky Country” for its wealth of nighttime stars. Montana is one of the county’s least-populated states, spreading 1,112,668 people—the eighth-fewest of any state in the US—across the country's 4th-largest area, 147,040 square miles (mi²).
As a result, Montana has the nation's third-lowest population density, at eight people per square mile—lower than every other state except Alaska (one person/mi²) and Wyoming (six people/mi²), and less than one-tenth of the national density of 94 people/mi². However, Montana also experienced 12.46% population growth from 2010 to 2023, the 14th-highest percentage growth of any US state during that period.
As in many other states, the urban areas in Montana are growing more quickly than rural areas, many of which are actually losing residents. The largest city in Montana is Billings, home to 121,001 residents, and its capital, Helena, has 33,261 residents. Counties with a population density of 6 or fewer people per square mile are designated as frontier counties. Forty-six of Montana’s fifty-six counties fall into this category.
Montana is the only US state to share borders with three Canadian provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. Montana also trails only Alaska in the number of veterans per 100k residents, and has the country's highest frequency of Vietnam veterans in particular. It also has the highest rate of firearm ownership in the United States.
Covering 77,348 square miles (mi²), Nebraska is the 16th-largest state in the US by total area. It is also the 14th-least-populated state in the US, with 2,002,052 residents (0.59% of the nation's total) as of 2023. Nebraska's population has increased by 9.62% from 2010 to 2023, the 20th-highest percentage increase in the US during that time.
Nebraska's population is largely concentrated in the state's eastern counties. The state's largest city, Omaha, rests on the state's eastern border and bears a population of 509,178 people—more than a quarter of the state's total population—which expands to nearly a million when incorporating the city's greater metropolitan area.
Nebraska's capital, Lincoln, is the state's second-largest city at 300,892 residents and is located less than an hour's drive from Omaha. Approximately 89% of cities in the "Cornhusker State" have fewer than 3,000 people, a range similar to that of many states in the Midwest, Plains, and Mountain regions.
Nebraska's population density is estimated to be around 26 people per square mile, well below the nation’s average of 96 people/mi². Nebraska’s rural counties continue to report declining numbers as its urban areas experience growth. Nebraska is one of the top corn-producing states in the US.
The landlocked state of Nevada covers 110,572 square miles (mi²) of total area, making it the seventh-largest state in the country. Within this area live 3,225,832 residents (19th-most), which results in a population density of 29 people per square mile, less than a third of the national population density of 96 people/mi² and the ninth-lowest of any state. However, Nevada experienced the fifth-highest percentage growth of any state from 2010 to 2023, an increase of 19.45%, and comprises approximately 0.96% of the country's total population.
The "Silver State" features one of the most distinct cultural divides of any state. Roughly 150% of the population is dispersed throughout the state's rural regions, which tend to focus upon mining and cattle ranching. By comparison, the remaining 85% live in the metropolitan areas around Reno and Las Vegas, whose economies and cultures center around a unique focus on tourist-focused entertainment and gambling.
Las Vegas is the largest city in Nevada, with a population of 659,348 people and is famous for its hotels, casinos, shopping centers, and fine dining. Nevada’s capital and 10th-largest city is Carson City, population 59,647, which is classified as independent and does not belong to any of the state’s seventeen counties.
One of the thirteen original colonies, New Hampshire is one of the six New England states, which are located in turn in the northeastern United States. Bordered by Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and the Canadian province of Quebec, New Hampshire has a total area of 9,349 square miles (mi²), the fifth-smallest in the US. New Hampshire's population at the start of 2023 was 1,395,847 people, the tenth-smallest in the US, and comprised 0.41% of the US total. New Hampshire's population has increased by 6.03% from 2010 to 2023 its population density is 156 people per square mile, both of which rank as the 21st-highest of any state.
The largest city in New Hampshire is Manchester, which is also the largest city in northern New England, with a population of 117,468. The state capital, Concord, is its third-largest city and has a population of 44,360. New Hampshire's state nicknames include "The Granite State" and "The Mother of Rivers." New Hampshire is considered one of the smartest states in the US by most methods of measurement.
One of the original thirteen colonies, New Jersey has a population density of 1,283 people per square mile (mi²), more than 1000% higher than the national population density of 96 people/mi². New Jersey's population density is the highest of any state in the US—only Washington DC, which is a district rather than a state, has a higher population density. Every county in New Jersey is classified as urban by the Census Bureau.
New Jersey's unmatched population density is largely attributable to the state's size and location. The "Garden State" has the country's fourth-smallest total area at 8,723 mi², but is geographically positioned so close to New York City (closer than most of the state of New York) that the greater NYC metropolitan area expands well into New Jersey. As a result, seven of the ten most populous cities in New Jersey, led by Newark (pop. 321,872) and Jersey City (305,904), share much of New York City's population-dense urban ecosystem, but have a much smaller rural area to balance it. A similar scenario occurs on New Jersey's western border, where Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's metropolitan area crosses the Delaware River and spreads into New Jersey.
A coastal state located in the country's northeastern region, New Jersey is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New York to the north/northeast, and Pennsylvania and Delaware to the west/southwest. New Jersey's estimated population in 2023 is 9,438,124, the 11th-largest in the country, and makes up approximately 2.80% of the national total. New Jersey's population increased by 7.35% from 2010 to 2023, the 25th-highest increase in the country.
Despite having the highest [income per capita]([average per-capita income) of any state, New Jersey is also the state with the highest percentage of moves in which people are leaving the state according to Moneywise and Forbes. This is likely attributable to people who work in New York City or Philadelphia moving closer to their jobs. New Jersey is also one of only two states, along with Oregon, where consumers are not allowed to pump their own gas.
Located in the heart of the American southwest, New Mexico is the fifth-largest state by total area, covering 121,590 square miles (mi²). An estimated 2,135,024 people (0.63% of the US total) called New Mexico home as of 2023, giving the "Land of Enchantment" the country's 15th-smallest population. As a combination of these two values, New Mexico's population density is 18 people per square mile—the sixth-lowest in the US and less than one-fifth the national density of 96 people/mi².
New Mexico’s population grew by 3.68% from 2010 to 2023, ranking 38th in the country. Perhaps fittingly given its name, New Mexico has the highest Hispanic population by percentage (49.20%) of any state. More than 30% of New Mexico's residents live in Bernalillo County, which is the second-smallest county in the state in terms of area, but includes New Mexico's largest city, Albuquerque, whose population of 570,172 is several times that of the second-largest city (Las Cruces, pop. 115,516). New Mexico's capital, Santa Fe, has a population of 93,373 and is the fourth-largest city in the state. New Mexico is one of the four corners states, which all touch one another at a single geographic point.
Nicknamed the "Empire State", New York boasts the fourth-largest population in the United States, with 20,448,194 people (6.06% of the US total) as of 2023. Nearly half of all New York residents live in New York City, the largest city in the United States (and 41st-largest in the world), which is home to 8,992,908 people—a higher population than that of 39 of the 50 US states. Albany, the capital of New York, has a population of 98,469 people, making it the sixth-most-populous city in the state.
New York's state population increased by 5.52% from 2010 to 2023, the 19th-largest increase in the US. New York City's population density is 29,938 people per square mile (mi²)—one of the highest in the country. However, New York state's 54,555 square miles (24th-largest area in the US) include not just the city but more rural upstate areas as well, leading to a much lower statewide population density 434 people/mi²—which is nonetheless the 7th-highest in the country and still more than four times the national density of 96 people/mi².
New York has the largest Jewish population of any US state by both percentage (9.1%) and number (1.77 million). Perhaps more surprisingly, New York suffered the most Civil War casualties of any state and is also home to the fourth-highest number of Hispanic residents of any state in the US. The other four states in the top five—California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona—are all located on the United States' southern border and three of the four touch Mexico itself (and the fourth, Florida, is a gulf state).
Situated on the east coast of the United States, North Carolina is the ninth-most-populated state, with an estimated 10,710,558 people at the start of 2023. North Carolina's population, which makes up 3.17% of the US total, grew by approximately 12.32% from 2010 to 2023, which ranks as the 15th-highest growth in the nation during that period.
Though North Carolina’s total area of 53,819 square miles (mi²) ranks as the 28th-largest in the US, its population density of 220 people per square mile is more than double the national average population of 96 people/mi² and makes the "Tar Heel State" the 15th-most-densely populated state in the nation.
Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and has a population of 917,527 residents. The city of Raleigh, population 486,796, is the second-largest city and also the state capital. North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies. Although the state has historically been considered rural, the past three decades have seen an increase in urbanization, and most areas now are considered urban and suburban.
North Dakota, also known as the "Peace Garden State", the Roughrider State, and the 701, is the 19th-largest state by area at 70,698 square miles (mi²), the fourth-smallest by population at 811,044 residents in 2023. North Dakota experienced the fourth-highest population growth by percentage in the United States from 2010 to 2023, increasing its population by 20.59%.
A northern state whose upper border touches Canada, North Dakota has a population density of 12 people per square mile, which ties the state with South Dakota for fourth place on the list of least-sparsely populated states (the national population density is 96 people//mi²). The lone city in North Dakota with a population larger than 100,000 is Fargo (pop. 132,122), where more than 16% of the state’s population resides. The second largest city in North Dakota, Bismarck (pop. 77,327), is also the state capital.
North Dakota produces more oil than any state other than Texas, and boasts one of the country's lowest unemployment rates in large part because of the oil industry. Demographically, North Dakota has the sixth-largest percentage of Native American residents of any state, but is one of only two states (the other being South Dakota) estimated to have fewer than 1,000 Jewish residents.
Despite being the 17th-largest state at 44,826 square miles (mi²), the Midwestern state of Ohio is the 7th-most-populated, with an estimated population of 11,878,330 people as of 2023 (3.52% of the nation's total). Ohio's population grew by 2.96% from 2010 to 2023, the sixth-lowest rate of any state in the country. Ohio is also the 10th-most-densely populated state in the US, with a population density of 291 people per square mile. This roughly triples the national density of 96 people/mi².
Ohio’s cities vary significantly in terms of growth and population. Columbus, which is both the state capital and the largest city in the "Buckeye State", has a 2023 population of 941,364 and a growth rate of approximately 1.28% per year. Meanwhile, Cleveland is the state's second-largest city, with 365,367 residents in 2023—a number which has decreased at a rate of 23 people every day (roughly 0.66% for the year 2022) for nearly five decades.
Ohio is one of only three states with four-letter names. Politically, Ohio is considered a perennial swing state with the most independent voters of any state other than California. It is also widely considered to be one of the most gerrymandered states.
The estimated population of Oklahoma in 2023 is approximately 4,021,753 residents, equal to 1.19% of the total US population. Nicknamed the Sooner State, Oklahoma has a total area of 69,899 mi², which ranks as the 20th-largest state in the union, and a relatively low population density of 59 people per square mile (mi²). While Oklahoma's population density is the 17th-lowest in the country and well below the national density of 96 people/mi², it is arguably typical for a state in the Great Plains region.
Oklahoma's urban population is largely concentrated in the areas in and around Oklahoma City—the state's largest city, pop. 711,372—and Tulsa—the capital and second-largest city, pop. 419,414. The four counties nearest to these two cities house nearly half of Oklahoma's population. In these two cities, the population density exceeds 5,000 people per square mile, though the rest of the state remains mostly under 55 people per square mile.
This proportion is likely to increase. While the population of the "Sooner State" grew 7.21% from 2010 to 2023 (the 26th-highest out of 50 states), the growth was unevenly distributed and followed an ongoing national trend in which urban areas grow more rapidly than rural areas. These rural areas are nonetheless vital to the state's economy: Oklahoma is a major producer of both wheat and meat, with more beef cattle than any state other than Texas.
Positioned just above California on the West Coast of the US, the "Beaver State" of Oregon covers 98,379 square miles (mi²) of territory, making it the 9th-largest state in the US by total area. Despite the state's relatively massive size, its population as of 2023 is an estimated 4,359,110, 1.29% of the total US population and just 27th-largest out of the 50 states. Perhaps unsurprisingly given these data, Oregon's average population density is 45 people per square mile, slightly more than half the US national density of 96 people/mi². This figure makes Oregon the 38th-most-densely populated state in the country.
Oregon's population expanded by 13.78% from 2010 to 2023, the 11th-largest growth of any state. A significant amount of Oregon's population is located in the Willamette Valley, a 150-mile-long river valley that runs vertically along the state's northwest coast and includes several of its largest cities, which make up roughly 70% of Oregon's population. These include Portland, Oregon’s largest city, which is home to 673,122 people, as well as Salem, the state’s capital and next largest city, with a population of 182,795 residents.
Oregon is quite geographically diverse, with rugged mountains including volcanoes, dense forests, many rivers and lakes, arid shrublands, and a high desert. It is one of the nation's leading producers of lumber, blueberries, and hazelnuts. Oregon is one of only two states, along with New Jersey, where consumers are not allowed to pump their own gas.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic and Appalacian regions of the United States. Pennsylvania is not a coastal state, as it falls just short of reaching the Atlantic coast. However, it does reach Lake Erie, making it part of the Great Lakes region, and borders Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and the Canadian province Ontario.
As of 2023, Pennsylvania’s population is an estimated 13,092,796 people, the fifth-highest of any state and 3.88% of the total US population. However, Pennsylvania has also experienced the eighth-lowest population growth in recent years, increasing its population by just 3.07% between 2010 and 2023. Pennsylvania ranks 33rd in the US in terms of size, with a total area of 46,054 square miles (mi²), but its population density of 293 people per square mile is the 9th-highest of any state and more than triple the national average of 96 people/mi². This is a common trend among states in the Northeast.
Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, as well as one of the largest in the US, boasting a population of 1,627,134 people as of 2023. The state's second-largest city is Pittsburgh, pop. 302,152, and a large proportion of the state's population lives in the metropolitan areas surrounding one of these two cities. The state capital, however, is Harrisburg (pop. 50,270), the 10th-largest city in the state.
One of the original 13 colonies, Pennsylvania is known by nicknames including the "Keystone State" and the "Quaker State." Pennsylvania is also the site of the first US hospital and its first public zoo, both of which opened in Philadelphia in 1751 and 1874, respectively. Although California produces the most beer of any state, Pennsylvania produces nearly as much—3.6 million barrels per year—which is more than twice as many as any state other than California.
Puerto Rico, Spanish for “rich port” and officially the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,” is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, approximately 1000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. Puerto Rico is not an official US state, but does possess some of the same rights as a state and, similarly to Washington DC, could conceivably become a state at some point in the future.
If Puerto Rico were a full US state, its area of 3,515 square miles (mi²) would make it the third-smallest state in terms of size, more diminutive than every state but Rhode Island and Delaware. However, Puerto Rico's population, estimated to be 3,153,898 as of 2023, would rank 33rd out of 51, just below Nevada and just above Arkansas. Puerto Rico's population has decreased by an estimated 15.35% from 2010 to 2023, significantly more than any existing US state.
Although Puerto Rico's population is contracting, its population density remains quite high. Currently estimated at 912 people per square mile, Puerto Rico's population density is nearly ten times the US national density of 96 people/mi² and would rank as the fourth-highest among existing US states. The most populous city in Puerto Rico is the island’s capital, San Juan, which is estimated to have approximately 342,259 residents. This makes San Juan the 57th-largest city under United States jurisdiction.
With state nicknames including the "Ocean State", the "Plantation State", and "Little Rhody", the coastal New England state Rhode Island is one of the most unique in the contiguous US. Covering a diminutive 1,545 square miles (mi²), Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country in terms of surface area. However, Rhode Island's small size enables it to boast the second-highest population density in the country at 1,074 people/mi²—higher than any state other than New Jersey (and the non-state District of Columbia)—despite the fact that its estimated 2023 population of 1,110,822 (0.33% of the US total) is the 44th-largest/seventh-smallest of any state.
Rhode Island's capital and most populous city is Providence, whose estimated population of 194,801 equals roughly 17.5% of the state's total population. The population of the "Ocean State" has grown by 5.54% from 2010 to 2023, the 31st-largest increase within the 50 states during that time. Rhode Island was one of the original 13 colonies, and was in fact the first to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown.
Rhode Island's economy is based largely around health care, tourism, and manufacturing. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the White Horse Tavern opened for business in 1673 and is said to be the oldest operating restaurant in the US and the 10th-oldest in the world.
South Carolina, located on the southeastern tip of the United States, is the 11th-smallest state in the country, with a total area of 32,020 square miles (mi²). However, like many states on the East coast, the "Palmetto State" is densely populated in relation to its size. South Carolina's population density is 175 people per square mile, which ranks as the 19th-highest out of the 50 states and is nearly double the national density of 96 people/mi².
South Carolina's population is estimated to be 5,266,343 as of 2023, equal to 1.56% of the US total, and ranks as the 23rd-highest out of 50 states. Between 2010 and 2023, South Carolina's population grew by 13.86%, the 10th-highest percentage increase of any state. The largest city in South Carolina is Charleston, which has a population of 159,269, followed closely by the capital, Columbia, with a population of 138,840.
In 1861, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union during events that would spiral into the American Civil War. Boasting both historical sites and relaxing beaches, the city of Charleston is considered the best place to visit in South Carolina. One of the more unusual parts of South Carolina is Morgan Island, which has no permanent human inhabitants but is home to a colony of roughly 3,500 free-range rhesus monkeys.
South Dakota’s current estimated population is 908,414, the fifth-smallest/46th-largest in the country, making up roughly 0.27% of the total US population. However, South Dakota's population has increased by 11.57% from 2010 to 2023, which ties Tennessee for the 16th-highest percentage increase during that period. In terms of land area, South Dakota ranks as the 17th-largest state in the US, with a total area of 77,116 square miles (mi²). This gives the "Coyote State" a population density of 12 people per square mile—one eighth of the national density of 96 people/mi²—which ties North Dakota for the fourth-lowest population density of any state.
The largest city in South Dakota is Sioux Falls, population 204,106, followed by Rapid City (76,728) and Aberdeen (29,215). The state capital, Pierre, has the ninth-largest population in the state at 14,223 people, and is one of the smallest state capitals in the US. South Dakota has the 4th-highest percentage of Native American residents of any state in the US. Approximately 10% of the residents of South Dakota are Native American. Conversely, South Dakota has the smallest Jewish population of any state in the US, with an estimated 250 Jews across the entire state.
South Dakota is the location of one of the United States' most iconic (and most parodied) tourist attractions: Mount Rushmore. Sculpted from 1927 to 1941, the monument bears the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, who respectively represent the country's birth, growth, preservation, and development.
The 36th-largest state in the country is the southeastern state Tennessee, which covers 42,144 square miles (15th-smallest in the US), with an average density of 172 people per square mile (mi²), the 20th-highest in the US. Tennessee’s 2023 population is estimated to be the 16th-highest in the US at 7,080,262, equivalent to 2.1% of the country's total population. This represents a population increase of 11.57% from 2010 to 2023, which ties with South Dakota for the 15th-highest increase during that period.
With 715,913 residents in the city itself and a greater metropolitan area that includes approximately two million people, Nashville is both Tennessee’s largest city and its capital. The next largest city is Memphis, with 628,970 residents and more than 1.3 million in its greater metropolitan area. However, because Nashville's metro area is split between multiple adjacent counties, Nashville's home county, Davidson County (pop. 742,644), has a smaller population than Shelby County (pop. 930,374), where Memphis is located.
This imbalance may soon evaporate—Davidson Country's population swelled by 18.5% from 2010 to 2023, while Shelby County's population over that same period grew by a much smaller 0.29%. Nicknamed the "Volunteer State", Tennessee is known for its music-themed attractions, which include Elvis Presley's mansion, Graceland; Dolly Parton's theme park, Dollywood; and the cities of Nashville and Memphis themselves, which are saturated with musically relevant sites such as the Grand Ole Opry, Sun Studios, and Halls of Fame for both country and blues music. Tourists rank Tennessee the second-friendliest state in the US.
Positioned along the US-Mexico border at the dividing line between the Southeastern and Southwestern states, Texas is the largest of the lower 48 states in terms of total area. Texas covers 268,596 square miles (mi²) in all, dwarfing every other state but Alaska. Home to an estimated 30,345,487 residents as of 2023—a number exceeded only by California—Texas comprises 8.99% of the total US population.
Texas' massive population and vast area balance one another somewhat, granting the state a comparatively unremarkable population density of 116 people per square mile, which is the 23rd-highest in the US and only a bit higher than the total US population density of 96 people/mi².
Nicknamed the "Lone Star State", Texas experienced the third-fastest growth percentage in the United States between 2010 and 2023, increasing its population by 20.68%. The only states with a higher percentage of population growth during that period were Utah and Idaho, whose combined populations are just over 1/6th that of Texas.
Texas has four cities with a population of more than a million people: Houston (2,366,119), San Antonio (1,466,791), Dallas (1,336,347), and the state capital: Austin (1,013,293). Additionally, Fort Worth is on pace to reach a million residents in the 2026-2030 timeframe. Texas' urban areas are growing very rapidly. The populations of all twelve of the most populous countries in the state (all urban) have grown by more than 10% since 2010. Moreover, nine have grown by more than 20%, six have grown more than 30%, five have grown more than 40%, and two have grown by more than 50%.
Texas ranks as the second-most-diverse state in the United States, behind California. It is also home to more than twice the number of beef cattle and boasts a crude oil production more than four times higher than that of any other state. In all, Texas has the second-highest total gross domestic product (GDP) of any state (behind California). On an unrelated note, Texas has the highest number of guns per capita of any state.
Utah’s estimated population as of 2023 is 3.42 million, which constitutes 1.01% of the total US population. Although Utah ranks 30th of all states in terms of total population, the state's population growth of 23.88% from 2010 to 2023 was the highest population growth experienced by any state in the US during that time period.
The 13th-largest state in the US, Utah has a total area of 84,897 square miles (mi²). This gives Utah a population density of 42 people per square mile, which is less than half the national population density of 96 people/mi² and ranks as the 11th-lowest of any state in the US.
Approximately 80% of Utah’s residents live in and around Salt Lake City, whose metropolitan area includes nine of the state's top ten most populated cities. Salt Lake City, which is both the capital of Utah and its largest city, has a population of 203,707. The remaining top-10 cities range in population from West Valley City's 143,455 to South Jordan's 85,608. More than two million residents of the "Beehive State" live in the cities and towns along the Wasatch Front, a metropolitan area running north-south along the Wasatch Mountains.
According to the US Census Bureau, Utah has the highest average family size and the highest birth rate of any state in the US. This is likely a significant contributing factor to Utah's median age, which is the youngest median age of any state. Utah is one of the Four Corners states, along with Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. It is also considered the happiest state in the lower 48 contiguous states, second only to Hawaii.
Also called the Green Mountain State, Vermont is the sixth-smallest/45th-largest state by size, with 9,616 square miles (mi²) total area. Vermont is also the second-smallest/49th-largest state in terms of population, with an estimated 648,279 residents as of 2023, who make up 0.19% of the total US population.
Vermont's smaller-than-average size and population result in a population density of 70 people per square mile, which is below the national average of 96 people/mi² and ranks as the 20th-lowest/31st highest in the country. Vermont's population growth of 3.6% between 2010 and 2023 tied with Missouri as the 11th-lowest/40th highest in the country.
Four of the ten largest cities in the "Green Mountain State" have more than 10,000 residents. The largest of these is Burlington, which boasts 45,422 residents, followed by South Burlington with 21,009, Rutland with 15,600, and Essex Junction with 10,986. Vermont's capital, Montpelier, has a population of 8,140 people, making it one of the smallest state capitals in the country.
The 35th-largest state in the union by size is Virginia, with a total area of 42,775 square miles (mi²). A southeastern state that connects the Atlantic coast with the Appalachian mountains, Virginia goes by several colorful state nicknames, including "Old Dominion" and the "Mother of Presidents."
At 8,820,504 people as of 2023, Virginia's population is the 12th-largest in the United States, and makes up 2.61% of the national population. Virginia experienced the 18th-highest/33rd-lowest population growth of any US state from 2010 to 2023, expanding by 10.24% during that time. Virginia's population and size result in a population density of 223 people per square mile, more than double the national population density of 96 people/mi², which ranks as the 14th-highest among states.
The capital of Virginia is Richmond, whose base population is 233,330 and whose metropolitan area is almost 1.3 million. However, Virginia also has four cities with larger populations, led by Virginia Beach (465,914), Chesapeake (257,585), and Arlington (247,949). One of the original 13 colonies, Virginia is also one of the states that seceded during the Civil War.
Not to be confused with Washington DC, which nestles among the states on the East Coast of the US, the state of Washington lies among the country's west coast states in the Pacific Time Zone. Washington's total area is 71,298 square miles (mi²), the 18th-largest in the US, and has a population density of 120 people per square mile, notably higher than the national average density of 96 people/mi².
With a 2023 population of 7,999,503 (2.37% of the US total) as of 2023, Washington ranks as the 13th-most-populous state in the US. If trends continue, Washington will continue to rise in rank, as the state has recorded 18.96% growth from 2010 to 2023, the 7th-highest percentage rise in the country during that time and higher than all but one (Texas) of the six states with a larger population.
The largest city in the "Evergreen State" is Seattle, which has a 2023 population of 775,523 and a population density of 9,248 people/mi². Approximately half of Washington's population lives in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellvue metropolitan area, which encompasses seven of the state's ten most populous cities. Washington's capital city, Olympia, is the 24th-largest city in the state and boasts approximately 58,344 residents.
Washington is one of only a handful of states that do not charge income tax, except on capital gains, and also has the cleanest air of any state in the lower 48. It was voted the best state to live in by US News & World Report.
An eastern state also known by the nickname "Mountain State", West Virginia has an estimated 1,775,932 residents as of 2023. This makes West Virginia's population the 12th-smallest/39th-highest population in the United States, good for .53% of the nation's total population. However, more unusual is the fact that West Virginia is one of only three states whose populations have decreased from 2010 to 2023. Moreover, West Virginia's decrease, -4.16%, is the highest of the three, exceeded only by the shrinkage in the non-state US territory of Puerto Rico.
West Virginia’s total area measures 24,230 square miles (mi²), the 10th-smallest/41st-largest in the US, and contributes to an average population density of 74 people per square mile. This is marginally lower than the US national population density of 96 people/mi², and gives West Virginia the 22nd-lowest/29th-highest population density of any US state. West Virginia's largest city is Charleston, which is also the state capital, which has a population of 48,102 residents. Close behind Charleston is Huntington (pop. 46,152), followed by Morgantown (30,554) and Parkersburg (29,213).
A foundational coal-belt state, West Virginia has the lowest Hispanic population by percentage (1.59%) of any state in the union, and is the third-whitest and least diverse state overall. It is one of only three states to [lose population] from 2010 to 2023 and ranks as one of the most rural states in the country. West Virginia is also the state with the highest number of reserve units per 100k people of any contiguous US state—only Hawaii has more.
Wisconsin is part of the Great Lakes region in the northern Midwest region of the United States. Wisconsin’s 2023 population is estimated to be 5,995,737 people, which ranks as the 21st-most in the US and amounts to 1.76% of the total US population. Wisconsin is also the 23rd-largest state by area, with a territory that covers 65,497.82 square miles (mi²). Combined, these data give Wisconsin a population density of 110 people per square mile, a bit higher than the national average density of 96 people/mi², which ranks as the 25th-largest population density of the 50 states.
Wisconsin's population grew by 4.73% from 2010 to 2023, which ranks as the 34th-highest/17th-lowest percentage of population growth in the country during that time frame. With a population of 571,939, Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s largest city. This is followed by Madison, the state's capital, with a community of 280,829, then by Green Bay (108,397), Kenosha (100,217), and Racine (77,504). Milwaukee county and Dane county have 937,014 and 583,533 residents respectively, which make them Wisconsin’s largest counties.
Wisconsin is perhaps most famous for its cheese production—one of the state's nicknames is the "Cheese State". In 2021, Wisconsin's cheesemakers produced 600 different varieties of cheese for a total of 3.47 billion pounds of cheese, approximately 25% of the total amount of all cheese produced in the US. If Wisconsin were an independent country, its cheese production would rank fourth in the world, behind only the rest of the US combined, Germany, and France.
A mountain state located in the central northwestern region of the US, Wyoming is the 10th-largest state in the US due to its 97,813 square miles (mi²) of total area. However, Wyoming's population of 580,817 is the lowest of any state in the US, making up just 0.17% of the national total. As a result, Wyoming has a population density of six people per square mile, making it the least-densely populated state in the 48 contiguous states and second-least-populous in the US—whose national density of 96 people/mi²—behind only Alaska. Wyoming's population grew by 3.05% from 2010 to 2023, the seventh-lowest rate among US states.
As of 2023, eleven cities in Wyoming had more than 10,000 residents. Wyoming’s capital and largest city is Cheyenne, with a population of 66,833. The city of Casper is close behind with 60,154 people, while Gillette (34,699) and Laramie (31,584) are third and fourth. Wyoming's population is dispersed more evenly than that of many other states; its eleven largest cities are spread among ten different counties. The two most populous counties in Wyoming are Laramie County (103,143), in which Cheyenne is located; and Natrona County (81,305), in which Casper is located.
With state nicknames including not only the "Cowboy State" but also the "Equality State", it is perhaps unsurprising that Wyoming was the first state to award women the right to vote. Although it is rarely considered a coal belt state, Wyoming is the leading coal producer in the United States. Yellowstone National Park, which is predominantly located in Wyoming (while stretching into Montana and Idaho), was created on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the United States (and arguably the world).