U.S. Population Change in the Last Decade, by State
The U.S. is the third most-populated country in the world, behind only two Asian giants of China and India respectively. But within the country, a lot can change in 10 years, and populations are especially mutable in nature.
As people moved in and out of certain areas for both lifestyle and economic reasons, which U.S. state populations fluctuated the most?
Drawing from the latest Census Bureau data, we look at how each state’s resident populations evolved over the past decade. But first, a blast from the past.
Historical Trends: U.S. Population Since the 1930s
Population growth trends in the U.S. have been closely tied to the economic ebbs and flows experienced by the nation. In one stark example, the country’s 10-year population growth rate plummeted to just 7.3% due to the Great Depression.
This was later offset by the post-WWII “Baby Boom”, during which birth rates soared once more, bumping up the population 10-year growth rate to 18.5% in the 1950s. The Baby Boomer generation now wields the most influence over the U.S. economy and society thanks to the favorable economic conditions in which they were born.
However, U.S. population growth rates recently hit new lows—the slower pace in the 2010s is rivalling that of the 1930s. According to Brookings, there area few factors at play:
- Falling fertility rate
- An increase in deaths (aging population, overdose deaths)
- Lower immigration rate
With all this in mind, how does the current landscape of the U.S. population by state look?
The Entire U.S. Population by State in 2020
The U.S. experienced 7.4% population growth between 2010-2020, which equates to the addition of 22.7 million people.
An impressive one-tenth of this growth occurred in California, and it remains the most populous state, rising above 39.5 million people in 2020. The SoCal megaregion—Los Angeles and San Diego—alone contributes more than $1.4 trillion to global economic output.
|Area||2020 Census Resident Population||Numeric Change (2010-2020)||% Change (2010-2020)|
|District of Columbia (Territory)||689,545||87,822||14.6%|
|Puerto Rico (Territory)||3,285,874||-439,915||-11.8%|
*Note: U.S. total and 10-year percentage change includes District of Columbia but excludes Puerto Rico
Overall, there’s been a significant shift in population towards the Sun Belt region (stretching from Southeast to Southwest), where 62% of the U.S. now resides. Let’s take a closer look at the biggest gainers and decliners over time.
Gainers: Utah, Texas
Utah saw the quickest population growth rate of 18.4% in the last decade. Drawn in by strong economic prospects, net migration into the state is balancing out a decline in births. What’s interesting is that 80% of Utah’s population is concentrated in the Wasatch Front – a metro area anchored by Salt Lake City and the chain of cities and towns running north and south of Utah’s largest city.
A little further south, Texas swelled by almost 4 million residents in the last 10 years. Much of this growth took place in the “Texas Triangle”, which contains Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. This booming region of the country contributes over $1.2 trillion to global economic output.
Decliners: West Virginia, Puerto Rico
West Virginia lost the most people in a decade, seeing a numeric population decline of 59,278. This may be explained by an aging population—16% of West Virginians are 65 years old and above.
When territories are also taken into account, Puerto Rico saw the biggest percentage decline of 11.8%, or close to 44,000 people over 10 years. Many of them moved into the mainland, and especially into Florida, after two hurricanes hit the island in 2017.
Full Speed Ahead: States Competing On Forward Momentum
By 2025, California will be home to five of the fastest-growing urban U.S. cities. The unstoppable growth of the tech industry in Silicon Valley is partly behind this, as many people flock to the West Coast to fill the shoes of highly skilled jobs required.
But could Silicon Valley one day lose its steam? Current and projected population growth in Texas is bolstering its tech potential too—in fact, it’s been dubbed the next “Silicon Hills”, with many tech companies from SpaceX to Oracle choosing to camp out in Austin instead.
Mapped: Top Trending Searches of 2021 in Every U.S. State
From presidential elections, to cryptocurrencies and billionaires, here are the trending searches in every U.S. state in 2021.
The Trending Searches in 2021
Google’s data editor Simon Rogers once said, “You’re never as honest as you are with your search engine. You get a sense of what people genuinely care about and genuinely want to know.”
This look at trending searches for every U.S. state is a window into the topics people were truly curious about in 2021. From political tensions to meme stocks, and from Elon Musk to a devastating tornado, we saw a wide range of trending searches throughout the year.
In the above animated video, Reddit user u/V1Analytics pulls together the top trending search terms from Google’s 2021 Year in Search summary (for the period before mid-November 2021) and Google’s Daily Search Trends page (from mid-November to December 20th) to illustrate the daily trends for each state.
It’s fascinating to see what Americans were looking up this year.
Trending Searches Offer a Glimpse of American Psyche
In the year when COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, many Americans turned to the world’s most popular search engine to figure out how to come back to a life of normalcy.
In 2021, the search entries spoke to people’s interest in alternative assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs, as well as persistent economic insecurity, evidenced by questions about when they would get their stimulus checks.
Entertainers and billionaires trended throughout the year, and so did topics of significant cultural impact at those moments in time.
Here is a look at the trending searches of 2021 and when they were searched most:
|Dogecoin||January, April, May||Cryptocurrency|
|Power Outage||June, July, August||Society|
|Lil Nas X||March||Entertainment|
|Prince Philip||April||Famous Personalities|
|Jake Paul||April, August||Content Creator|
|AMC Stock||May, June, August||Entertainment|
|Hurricane Ida||August||Climate Change|
|Squid Game||October||TV Shows|
Notable Trending Searches in 2021
Here’s a look at a few of the notable searches that trended across the U.S. in 2021:
President Biden and Capitol
Unsurprisingly, the year started with news of the presidential election and the U.S. Capitol riot, as President Biden was set to take office.
In six states, however, the top trending search was still related to the Mega Millions jackpot, even as individuals stormed the Capitol Building.
One of the most sought-after games of the year, Valheim, came on the market in February, 2021. By August, it had garnered over 8 million users. The developing company’s new Hearth and Home patch has skyrocketed the game’s appeal even more.
In March, the U.S. government unveiled their plan to distribute the third stimulus check to Americans.
People started looking for more information about when they would be getting their checks and if there had been any changes in the amount they would receive.
Created in 2013 as a parody of Bitcoin, Dogecoin saw record trading levels in May 2021. This was in part due to Elon Musk supporting the cryptocurrency.
The Dogecoin market capitalization surged to a peak of $88 billion, worth more than three-quarters of the companies in the S&P 500.
After suffering significant losses due to the pandemic-related shuttering of theaters across the country, AMC Entertainment became a fan favorite of Reddit-based retail traders who drove the share price up beyond what most analysts considered reasonable.
AMC’s stock price rose by 95% in a couple of days, reaching a record high of $63 per share. This was the latest phase of the meme stock frenzy.
President Biden decided to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, 2021, ending the longest war the country has ever fought.
As an immediate consequence of the withdrawal, the Taliban militia took over the country and the government. The event, which was broadcast in near real-time, caused widespread panic among the citizens as some attempted to flee the country.
What’s in Store for 2022
It’s going to be everyone’s best guess as to what the trending searches for 2022 will be. Based on the events that dominated the news throughout the year, a few predictions could be made.
Experts predict that we will be moving to an endemic stage of the pandemic, which is bound to profoundly impact how we live in 2022.
New trends, movies, TV shows, and even newer gadgets will surely catch everyone’s attention next year. It will be fascinating to see what’s on the minds of people in the coming 12 months.
The Most Commonly Spoken Language in Every U.S. State (Besides English and Spanish)
The U.S. is home to a plethora of languages. Here we map the most common language spoken in each state (aside from English and Spanish)
The Most Common Spoken Household Languages
We typically operate under the assumption that most Americans speak either English or Spanish. Though this is true in the broadest sense, the U.S. is a culturally diverse country, home to a plethora of languages.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) annually asks more than 1 million Americans questions about their lives, families, and backgrounds. One question asks respondents what language they mainly speak in their homes.
Migration Policy has used this data (while excluding English and Spanish) to leave us with the next-most-frequently spoken languages at home in each state.
Non-English Languages in the U.S.
In 2019, approximately 78% (241 million) of all 308.8 million people ages five and older reported speaking only English at home regardless of their nativity. The remaining 22% (67.8 million) reported speaking a language other than English at home.
Based on this data, Mandarin and Cantonese were the most common non-English, non-Spanish languages spoken in the U.S., with more than 3.4 million speakers across the country.
Here is a list of the most common languages spoken at home in the U.S., outside of English:
|Language||Population Estimate||Share of Foreign Language Speakers|
|Cantonese and Mandarin||3,495,000||5.2%|
|French and Louisiana French||1,172,000||1.7%|
|West African Languages||589,000||0.9%|
|West Germanic Languages||560,000||0.8%|
Tagalog is the second most commonly spoken language in American households (after English/Spanish) with 1.7 million speakers, even though it only reaches top spot in Nevada. Unsurprisingly, Louisiana and states bordering eastern Canada have a healthy number of French speakers.
Further analysis of these common languages reveals a fascinating story. Here’s a breakdown of the top 5 most commonly spoken second languages (excluding English and Spanish), and the states where they’re spoken.
1. Cantonese and Mandarin
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 3,495,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 17
States that most commonly speak the language: California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
Chinese immigrants have been coming to America in large numbers since the mid-19th century, when the California Gold Rush compelled them to cross the Pacific Ocean. Today, there are over 5 million Chinese Americans across the country.
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 1,764,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 1
States that most commonly speak the language: Nevada
Immigrants from the Philippines started coming to America in large numbers by the turn of the 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1965 that both skilled and educated workers came by the thousands. Today, there are over 4 million Filipino Americans.
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 1,571,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 5
States that most commonly speak the language: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Georgia.
South Vietnamese immigration to the U.S. began right after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, and more Vietnamese people have been arriving ever since. Today, over half of all Vietnamese-Americans live in either California or Texas.
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 1,260,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 2
States that most commonly speak the language: Michigan and Tennessee
Michigan alone has over 140,000 Arabic speakers. California has over 190,000 speakers. Pew Research Center noted that Arabic is the fastest-growing language in the U.S., with speakers growing by 29% from 2010 to 2014.
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 1,172,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 4
States that most commonly speak the language: Louisiana, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.
After the Louisiana Purchase, French evolved from its original form, creating Louisiana French which also borrows words from English, Spanish, Native American, and African languages. To this day, it’s still spoken by around 175,000 people in Louisiana and Texas.
The United States: A Multilingual Country
Although English, in all its diversity, is unquestionably the country’s dominant national language, the U.S. has always had a complex multilingual history. Long before European settlers colonized North and South America, thousands of indigenous languages thrived from coast to coast. Today, some Indigenous languages are making a comeback as many states acknowledge their importance in the history and culture of the country.
With each new wave of immigrants residing in the country from every part of the globe, the linguistic and cultural diversity of the United States is growing.
The U.S. has one of the largest Chinese populations outside China, a demographic shift that may increase in the coming years. Spanish is now the most popular second language of the country.
America is home to the largest population of English speakers in the world, but bilingualism has been on the rise in the country for decades – a trend that shows no signs of letting up.
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