En español | There are now more than 331 million people living in the United States, according to the long-awaited first batch of data the Census Bureau released on its 2020 count of the population. That’s up by more than 22 million since 2010.
But, of course, not every part of the country grew at the same rate. “For the regions, the South grew the fastest over the last decade, with a 10.2 percent increase in population, followed by the West with 9.2 percent, the Northeast with 4.1 percent and the Midwest with 3.1 percent,” acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin said during a news conference announcing the counts.
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A closer look at the state results show that 13 states — and the District of Columbia — were the big winners in population growth over the past 10 years, with increases of 10 percent or more. While the data that have been released to the public so far don’t detail exactly what’s behind each state’s boom, Census officials said that increases in migration from other states, international immigration and birth rates are factors that play a significant role.
Utah had the fastest growing population, with an increase of 18.4 percent. Other booming states, based on growth percentage, include Idaho, Texas, North Dakota, Nevada and Colorado.
|2020 Population||2010 Population||+ People||+ %|
|District of Columbia||689,545||601,723||87,822||14.6|
Only three states saw their population shrink. West Virginia dipped by 3.2 percent (59,278 people), Mississippi by 0.2 percent (6,018 people) and Illinois by 0.1 percent (18,124 people).
The Census Bureau won’t release its more detailed data from the 2020 count — including information about age — until later this summer. But many of the states that grew swiftly over the past 10 years are also states in which older adults make up a large percentage of the population. For example, Florida, Delaware, South Carolina, Oregon and Arizona have some of the highest shares of people age 65 and older, according to the bureau’s estimates in 2018.
California led the nation in overall population in the 2020 count (39,538,223 people), followed by Texas (29,145,505 people), Florida (21,538,187 people), New York (20,201,249 people) and Pennsylvania (13,002,700 people). Wyoming was the least populous state, tallying 576,851 residents.
The U.S. Constitution requires the government to do a complete count of all residents in the nation and where they live once every decade. The resulting numbers are used to determine how many members each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. The data also determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds are spent each year, on everything from schools and roads to Medicare Part B benefits.
Kenneth Terrell covers employment, age discrimination, work and jobs, careers, and the federal government for AARP. He previously worked for the Education Writers Association and U.S. News & World Report, where he reported on government and politics, business, education, science and technology, and lifestyle news.