New York Loses the Most People; Southwest Leads Population Gains

By: - December 20, 2018 12:00 am

A stadium for the Raiders football team under construction in Las Vegas. Nevada and other Southwestern states led percentage growth in population between 2017 and 2018 and population fell in nine states including New York and Illinois. Aaron M. Sprecher/The Associated Press

New York lost the most population among states last year, surpassing Illinois as the nation’s biggest people-loser in U.S. census estimates issued Wednesday.

Nine states lost population, the largest number in more than 30 years, as Southwestern states led growth again: Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Arizona had the largest percentage increases in population between 2017 and 2018.

The biggest factor in population losses and gains was people moving within the country. Nevada’s gain of about 62,000 people (a 2 percent increase, the nation’s highest) was driven by a net 50,000 people moving in, while New York’s net loss of 180,000 movers contributed to its population loss of about 50,000 people, despite gaining more than 70,000 immigrants.

Population loss in Illinois was about 45,000, and West Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, Connecticut, and Wyoming also lost residents. (Eight states lost population in 2017, surpassing a record set in the mid-1980s when oil prices plunged and hit the economies of energy-producing states.)

Texas had the largest number of new residents at about 379,000, and Florida had the most people moving in, nearly 133,000.

The census estimates released Wednesday are from mid-2017 to 2018 and don’t include effects of Hurricanes Florence and Michael this fall or the recent California wildfires.

Nationally, population grew by about half a percentage point or roughly 2 million people, the lowest annual increase of the 2010s so far. More than 90 percent of the growth, about 1.8 million, was in the South and West regions.

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.