Census Bureau Releases 2012 State Population Estimates

View maps showing recent population changes for all states.
by | December 20, 2012

The Census Bureau released estimates Thursday indicating North Dakota's population jumped 2.2 percent between July 2011 and July 2012, nearly three times the national rate. The state, fueled by an oil boom creating thousands of jobs, is the nation's fasting growing.

Other states experiencing the largest percentage increases were predominantly in the South and western U.S. They include Texas (1.7 percent), Wyoming (1.6 percent), Utah (1.5 percent) and Nevada (1.4 percent).

North Dakota surpassed the District of Columbia, which saw its population swell by 2.1 percent over the year, as the fastest-growing place in the country.

Nationwide, the Census Bureau estimates the U.S. added 2.3 million people up through July -- an increase of 0.8 percent over the year. In terms of total residents, the most populous states -- Texas, California and Florida -- registered the largest gains.

Vermont and Rhode Island were the only states estimated to have lost residents over the year, although changes were minimal.

The Census Bureau computes state population estimates using several different sets of data. Primarily, though, totals are calculating using age groups, birth rates, death rates and estimates of residents migrating from one state to another. (For a more detailed explanation, refer to the Census Bureau's methodology here)

To illustrate the changes, we've compiled a few maps.

The following map shows the natural rate of change, factoring estimated births and deaths for each state. States with higher combined rates are shown in dark blue. Utah, the nation's youngest state, recorded the highest rate, followed by Alaska (please zoom out to view Alaska and Hawaii).

Net migration also influences total population estimates. North Dakota and other darker states acquired the most residents from other states and foreign countries.

For a more detailed look at where residents are moving, see our interactive migration map.

Finally, all these estimates and demographic traits provide an idea of a state's total population, shown below. Click a state for more detailed estimates.

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