The Fastest-Growing States in the Nation

The Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program (PEP)

produces annual estimates of the residential population for various geographies,

including the United States, its states, counties, cities, and towns, as well

as for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its municipios. PEP annually

utilizes current data on births, deaths, and migration to estimate the change

in population for each geography encompassed by the program, comparing current

estimates to those recorded during the most recent decennial census. These are

the estimates used for federal funding allocations and as survey controls for

the upcoming American Community Survey release each year. 

Population estimates for 2018, spanning the period between July

1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, were released in December for states, Puerto Rico, and

the nation. However, population estimates for 2018 are not scheduled to be released

for counties, cities, towns, and metro/micropolitan statistical areas until next


Population Growth in the U.S.

According to the data provided by the PEP, the population in

the United States continued to grow, by 0.6 percent, over the period from July

1, 2017 to July 1, 2018. Furthermore, the voting age population, consisting of those

18 years and over, increased by 0.9 percent to reach a total of 253,768,092

people in 2018. Following a trend observed in previous years, population growth

for the nation as a whole was the result of both natural increase (the excess

of births over deaths) and steady international migration. While international

migration was slightly higher last year (978,826 compared to 953,233 the year before),

natural increase was slightly lower last year (1,041,487 compared to 1,122,546

the previous year).

Although the population in the U.S has continued to grow throughout

the years, the rate of natural increase has steadily declined over the past

decade — resulting from fewer births in recent years and an increasing number

of deaths. Nationally, natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) was

nearly 1.04 million last year, accounting for 3,855,500 births and 2,814,013

deaths. Yet just a decade ago, in 2008, natural increase for the nation stood

at nearly 1.8 million.    

How States Compare

In the last year alone, Nevada and Idaho tied for the top

spot as the nation’s fastest-growing state — in terms of population growth from

July 1, 2017 through July 1, 2018. Both states experienced a population surge

of nearly 2.1 percent, resulting from both natural increase and positive net migration,

well above the national rate of 0.6 percent for the year. Closely trailing Nevada

and Idaho for the largest percentage increases in population were Utah (1.9 percent),

Arizona (1.7 percent), Florida (1.5 percent), and Washington (1.5 percent). Michigan’s

positive, yet modest, population growth (0.3 percent) ranked 35th last

year, though we were the 10th most populous state in the nation (9,995,915

residents) following North Carolina (10,383,620 residents). Although Florida experienced

the highest level of net domestic migration in the last year, with 132,602 more

people migrating to the state than those exiting, an excess of deaths relative

to births has prevented the state from claiming the top spot.


Unlike Florida, there were nine states in the last year — in

addition to Puerto Rico — where the population gains associated with migration

could not mitigate the losses resulting from an excess of deaths over births. The

nine states where population losses occurred were New York (a decline of

48,510), Illinois (45,116), West Virginia (11,216), Louisiana (10,840), Hawaii

(3,712), Mississippi (3,133), Alaska (2,348), Connecticut (1,215) and Wyoming


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