News Column

California Remains Most Populous State at 37.7 Million

Dec. 21, 2011
California population

What do Michigan, Maine and Rhode Island have in common? Winters, yeah, but they also are the only three states to lose population between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, according to new numbers released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report shows that the United States as whole keeps growing, although at the slowest pace since the 1940s, while Michigan's population fell by 7,400, or .08 percent, to 9,876,187. The state's population has been dropping since 2005 and dipped below 10 million in 2009, chiefly because of the economy. People go where the work is and, while Michigan has lately been among the top states in job growth, the state still hasn't recovered anywhere near all the manufacturing work that vanished during the auto industry meltdown.

In releasing this morning's numbers, the first to be published since the 2010 population estimates, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves, a former research professor at the University of Michigan, said, "the nation's overall growth rate is now at its lowest point since before the baby boom" of 1946-64.

The report showed that Texas gained more people than any other state, 529,000, during the reporting period, followed by California (438,000), Florida (256,000), Georgia (128,000) and North Carolina (121,000). Combined, those five states accounted for slightly more than half the nation's total population growth.

The United States as a whole saw its population increase by 2.8 million over the 15-month period, to 311.6 million, or just less than 1 percent. California remains the most populous state at 37.7 million. Rounding out the top five are Texas (25.7 million), New York (19.5 million), Florida (19.1 million) and Illinois (12.9 million).

The fastest-growing place? How about the District of Columbia, at 2.7 percent. Apparently that's where jobs are growing, presumably in government, government contracts and government influencing.

As further evidence that work more than weather dictates where we move, the states following D.C. in percent increase were Texas (2.1 percent), Utah (1.9 percent), Alaska (1.8 percent), Colorado (1.7 percent) and North Dakota (1.7 percent.)

Michigan's population loss as a percentage was second to Rhode Island, although "The Ocean State" lost just 1,300 people (.12 percent). Maine was third but in the Pine Tree State the loss was just 200 people or .01 percent.

And how about Nevada? Battered by the housing crisis, the fastest-growing state from 2000-10 ranked just 27th in today's report, increasing by only .08 percent.

Source: (c) 2011 the Detroit Free Press

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters