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January 2020

Washington one of few states with population growth

January 6, 2020

Washington was one of few states to experience population growth during 2019 (up 1.2%), according to newly-released estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. Overall, the nation's population grew by only 0.5% between 2018 and 2019 - the slowest pace in decades.

Census Bureau officials attribute the meager gain to various factors, including a sharp decline in the number of new immigrants, fewer births, millennials' delay in having children, and a graying population.

A well-known demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution told a reporter at The New York Times that the percentage increase for the U.S. population was the lowest in a century. The demographer, William H. Frey, said the 6.7% growth rate during the most recent decade is expected to be the lowest since the government started taking population counts around 1790.

The yearly snapshot showed Washington was one of eight states with an increase in births (612), and was a "top 10" state for both numeric growth (91,024) and percent growth (1.2%).

The nation's population was 328,239,523 in 2019, growing by 1,522,022 people between 2018 and 2019. Annual growth peaked at 0.73% this decade in the period between 2014 and 2015. The Bureau said growth between 2018 and 2019 is a continuation of a multiyear slowdown since that period.

"While natural increase is the biggest contributor to the U.S. population increase, it has been slowing over the last five years," said Dr. Sandra Johnson, a demographer/statistician in the Population Division of the Census Bureau. "Natural increase, or when the number of births is greater than the number of deaths, dropped below 1 million in 2019 for the first time in decades."

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia had fewer births in 2019 than 2018, while eight states saw a birth increase. Washington topped the list of states with increases in births (612). Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Vermont and Colorado also notched gains.

Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia lost population through net domestic migration between 2018 and 2019. California with a loss of 203,414, was one of three states with net domestic migration losses greater than 100,000. New York and Illinois also experienced losses exceeding 100,000.

California's exodus could cost the state one of its 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives during the next congressional reapportionment, according to Frey. (Election Data Services projects 16 states will see a shift in congressional representation after the 2020 Census.)

In addition to apportionment, Census counts are used to determine electoral votes and to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities.

Last month's Census estimates for 2019 revealed nine states with populations of more than 10 million:  California (39,512,223), Texas (28,995,881), Florida (21,477,737), New York (19,453,561), Pennsylvania (12,801,989), Illinois (12,671,821), Ohio (11,689,100), Georgia (10,617,423) and North Carolina (10,488,084).

Washington's population in the latest estimates was 7,614,893, placing it 6th on the list of states with the largest numeric growth, and 7th when measured by percent growth.


Top 10 States in Numeric Growth, 2018 to 2019

Rank

Geographic Area

April 1, 2010
(Estimates Base)

July 1, 2018

July 1, 2019

Numeric Growth

1

Texas

25,146,091

28,628,666

28,995,881

367,215

2

Florida

18,804,564

21,244,317

21,477,737

233,420

3

Arizona

6,392,288

7,158,024

7,278,717

120,693

4

North Carolina

9,535,751

10,381,615

10,488,084

106,469

5

Georgia

9,688,729

10,511,131

10,617,423

106,292

6

Washington

6,724,540

7,523,869

7,614,893

91,024

7

Colorado

5,029,319

5,691,287

5,758,736

67,449

8

South Carolina

4,625,366

5,084,156

5,148,714

64,558

9

Tennessee

6,346,276

6,771,631

6,829,174

57,543

10

Nevada

2,700,677

3,027,341

3,080,156

52,815


Top 10 States in Percent Growth, 2018 to 2019

Rank

Geographic Area

April 1, 2010
(Estimates Base)

July 1, 2018

July 1, 2019

Percent Growth

1

Idaho

1,567,657

1,750,536

1,787,065

2.1%

2

Nevada

2,700,677

3,027,341

3,080,156

1.7%

3

Arizona

6,392,288

7,158,024

7,278,717

1.7%

4

Utah

2,763,891

3,153,550

3,205,958

1.7%

5

Texas

25,146,091

28,628,666

28,995,881

1.3%

6

South Carolina

4,625,366

5,084,156

5,148,714

1.3%

7

Washington

6,724,540

7,523,869

7,614,893

1.2%

8

Colorado

5,029,319

5,691,287

5,758,736

1.2%

9

Florida

18,804,564

21,244,317

21,477,737

1.1%

10

North Carolina

9,535,751

10,381,615

10,488,084

1.0%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau