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Chart: The Population Rank of Every U.S. State Over 100 Years

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The Population Rank of Every U.S. State Over 100 Years

The Population Rank of Every U.S. State Over 100 Years

“Go west, young man, and grow up with the country.”

Popularized by Horace Greeley, the editor of the New-York Tribune, these words formed one of the great catchphrases at the height of the Manifest Destiny era in the 19th century.

Although that period is still a few chapters back in the history books, the fact is the West Coast is still relatively new today. Los Angeles was only incorporated in 1850, Portland in 1851, and Seattle in 1869.

And throughout the 20th century – Americans were moving westward in droves, ultimately culminating in California taking over the title of the most populous state in the union by the year 1960.

Population Rank by State

Today’s visualization is a bump chart from Aaron Penne, and it shows the population rank of U.S. states and D.C. over the timeframe of a century (1917-2017) using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

When a state passes another in population in a given year, it “bumps” the other state from that place in the ranking. Big movers are also highlighted in orange (up) and black (down) on the graph.

Let’s look at the numbers for the first year on the graph, which is 1917:

RankStatePopulation (1917)
#1New York9,993,000
#2Pennsylvania8,578,000
#3Illinois6,313,000
#4Ohio5,510,000
#5Texas4,563,000
#6Massachusetts3,738,000
#7Missouri3,470,000
#8Michigan3,451,000
#9California3,171,000
#10New Jersey2,976,000
#11Indiana2,910,000
#12Georgia2,885,000
#13Wisconsin2,587,000
#14North Carolina2,546,000
#15Kentucky2,421,000
#16Iowa2,382,000
#17Alabama2,361,000
#18Tennessee2,331,000
#19Minnesota2,329,000
#20Virginia2,313,000
#21Oklahoma1,960,000
#22Mississippi1,820,000
#23Lousiana1,795,000
#24Kansas1,748,000
#25Arkansas1,737,000
#26South Carolina1,675,000
#27West Virginia1,439,000
#28Maryland1,428,000
#29Connecticut1,327,000
#30Washington1,287,000
#31Nebraska1,285,000
#32Colorado910,000
#33Florida895,000
#34Maine777,000
#35Oregon763,000
#36North Dakota661,000
#37Rhode Island606,000
#38South Dakota599,000
#39Montana505,000
#40New Hampshire447,000
#41Utah444,000
#42Idaho413,000
#43District of Columbia385,000
#44Vermont372,000
#45New Mexico361,000
#46Arizona311,000
#47Delaware222,000
#48Wyoming186,000
#49Nevada81,000

New York led the pack with just short of 10 million people, which made up 10% of the population of the country as a whole. Meanwhile, California had only 3.2 million people – and amazingly, Nevada only had 81,000 people in 1917.

Now let’s jump forward 50 years to 1967, when the U.S. population was closer to 200 million.

RankStatePopulation (1967)
#1California19,176,000
#2New York17,935,000
#3Pennsylvania11,681,000
#4Illinois10,947,000
#5Texas10,599,000
#6Ohio10,414,000
#7Michigan8,630,000
#8New Jersey6,928,000
#9Florida6,242,000
#10Massachusetts5,594,000
#11Indiana5,053,000
#12North Carolina4,952,000
#13Missouri4,539,000
#14Virginia4,508,000
#15Georgia4,408,000
#16Wisconsin4,303,000
#17Tennessee3,859,000
#18Maryland3,757,000
#19Minnesota3,659,000
#20Louisiana3,581,000
#21Alabama3,458,000
#22Washington3,174,000
#23Kentucky3,172,000
#24Connecticut2,935,000
#25Iowa2,793,000
#26South Carolina2,533,000
#27Oklahoma2,489,000
#28Mississippi2,228,000
#29Kansas2,197,000
#30Colorado2,053,000
#31Oregon1,979,000
#32Arkansas1,901,000
#33West Virginia1,769,000
#34Arizona1,646,000
#35Nebraska1,457,000
#36Utah1,019,000
#37Maine1,004,000
#38New Mexico1,000,000
#39Rhode Island909,000
#40District of Columbia791,000
#41Hawaii723,000
#42Montana701,000
#43New Hampshire697,000
#44Idaho688,000
#45South Dakota671,000
#46North Dakota626,000
#47Delaware525,000
#48Nevada449,000
#49Vermont423,000
#50Wyoming322,000
#51Alaska278,000

In just half of a century, California gained 16 million people, and jumped to the #1 spot in the process. That’s a 504% increase over its 1917 population.

The Largest Increases in Population

For a final table data, we’ll show you the 2017 state populations compared to the 1917 state populations.

The table is sorted by the percentage increase over the course of that 100 years of time.

RankStatePopulation (1917)Population (2017)% Increase
#1Nevada81,0002,998,0393,601%
#2Florida895,00020,984,4002,245%
#3Arizona311,0007,016,2702,156%
#4California3,171,00039,536,6531,147%
#5Utah444,0003,101,833599%
#6Texas4,563,00028,304,596520%
#7Colorado910,0005,607,154516%
#8New Mexico361,0002,088,070478%
#9Washington1,287,0007,405,743475%
#10Oregon763,0004,142,776443%
#11Delaware222,000961,939333%
#12Maryland1,428,0006,052,177324%
#13Idaho413,0001,716,943316%
#14North Carolina2,546,00010,273,419304%
#15Virginia2,313,0008,470,020266%
#16Georgia2,885,00010,429,379262%
#17Wyoming186,000579,315211%
#18New Jersey2,976,0009,005,644203%
#19New Hampshire447,0001,342,795200%
#20South Carolina1,675,0005,024,369200%
#21Michigan3,451,0009,962,311189%
#22Tennessee2,331,0006,715,984188%
#23Connecticut1,327,0003,588,184170%
#24Lousiana1,795,0004,684,333161%
#25Minnesota2,329,0005,576,606139%
#26Indiana2,910,0006,666,818129%
#27Wisconsin2,587,0005,795,483124%
#28Ohio5,510,00011,658,609112%
#29Montana505,0001,050,493108%
#30Alabama2,361,0004,874,747106%
#31Illinois6,313,00012,802,023103%
#32Oklahoma1,960,0003,930,864101%
#33New York9,993,00019,849,39999%
#34Kentucky2,421,0004,454,18984%
#35Massachusetts3,738,0006,859,81984%
#36District of Columbia385,000693,97280%
#37Missouri3,470,0006,113,53276%
#38Rhode Island606,0001,059,63975%
#39Arkansas1,737,0003,004,27973%
#40Maine777,0001,335,90772%
#41Vermont372,000623,65768%
#42Kansas1,748,0002,913,12367%
#43Mississippi1,820,0002,984,10064%
#44Nebraska1,285,0001,920,07649%
#45Pennsylvania8,578,00012,805,53749%
#46South Dakota599,000869,66645%
#47Iowa2,382,0003,145,71132%
#48West Virginia1,439,0001,815,85726%
#49North Dakota661,000755,39314%
#50Alaska739,795n/a
#51Hawaii1,427,538n/a

Not surprisingly, Nevada takes the cake with a 3,601% gain, going from 81,000 people to today’s 2,998,039.

Meanwhile, North Dakota had the smallest gain – it only added 14% more people over a whole century of time.

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Data Visualization

Animation: 200 Years of U.S. Immigration As Tree Rings

Since 1830, there have been four major waves of U.S. immigration – and this unique video depicts the influx of immigrants as rings in a tree trunk.

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If you walk down the streets in the United States, the odds are that one in every four people you’ll see is an immigrant, or was born to immigrant parents.

While those odds might seem high, the truth is nearly everyone in the U.S. hails from someplace else if you look far back enough.

Visualizing U.S. Immigration

Today’s intriguing visualization was created by professors Pedro M. Cruz and John Wihbey from Northeastern University, and it depicts U.S. immigration from 1830 until 2015, as rings in a growing tree trunk.

The researchers turned registered U.S. Census data into an estimate for the total number of immigrants arriving each decade, and then the yearly figures in the visualization. One caveat is that it does not account for the populations of slaves, or indigenous communities.

From the Old to the New World

The pattern of U.S. immigration can be explained in four major waves overall:

U.S. Immigration Waves

The origins of U.S. immigrant populations transform from era to era. Which events influenced each wave?

Frontier Expansion: 1830-1880

  • Cheap farmland and the promise of economic growth in the first Industrial Revolution spurred large-scale immigration from Britain, Germany, and other parts of Central Europe.
  • The Irish Potato Famine from 1845 to 1849 drove many immigrants from Ireland over to the U.S.
  • The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe ended the Mexican-American war, and extended U.S. citizenship to over 70,000 Mexican residents.

Industrialization: 1880-1915

  • Immigrant mobility increased with the introduction of large steam-powered ships. The expansion of railroads in Europe also made it easier for people to reach oceanic ports.
  • On the other hand, the Chinese Exclusion act in 1882 prohibited Chinese laborers from entry.
  • In 1892, the famous Ellis Island opened; the first federal immigration station provided a gateway for over 12 million people.

The Great Pause: 1915-1965

  • The Immigration Act of 1924 enacted quotas on immigrant numbers, restricting groups from countries in Southern and Eastern Europe, and virtually all immigrants of Asian origin.
  • The Great Depression, and subsequent World Wars also complicated immigration matters as many came to seek refuge in the United States.

Post-1965 Immigration: 1965-Present

  • The Hart-Cellber (Immigration and Naturalization Act) of 1965 overturned all previous quotas based on national origin. Family unification and an increase in skilled labor were two major aims of this act.
  • This decision significantly impacted the U.S. demographic makeup in the following decades, as more immigrants of Latin, Asian, and African descent entered the country.

E Pluribus Unum (From Many, One)

While others have mapped two centuries of immigration before, few have captured its sheer scale and impact quite as strikingly. The researchers explain their reasoning behind this metaphor of tree rings:

This idea lends itself to the representation of history itself, as it shows a sequence of events that have left a mark and shaped the present. If cells leave a mark in the tree, so can incoming immigrants be seen as natural contributors to the growth of a trunk that is the United States.

It’s no wonder that this animation showing U.S. immigration won Gold for the “People, Language, and Identity” and “Most Beautiful” categories at the 2018 Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards.

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Global Happiness: Which Countries are the Most (and Least) Happy?

What contributes to happiness? These charts break down global happiness scores – how does your country fare, and how has it changed over ten years?

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How much happier would you be if were given a 10% raise?

While money can be a crucial indicator of happiness at lower income levels, studies have found that as incomes rise, money becomes a less important part of the overall happiness equation.

In fact, researchers see happiness as a complex measure that involves many variables outside of material wealth, including social support, freedom, and health.

Measuring Global Happiness

Today’s chart uses data from the World Happiness Report 2018 to measure and understand which countries report feeling the most and least happy.

Global Happiness Countries Most and Least Happy

WHAT CONTRIBUTES TO HAPPINESS?

The six key variables used by researchers in this report on global happiness include:

  1. GDP per capita
  2. Healthy life expectancy
  3. Social support
  4. Freedom of choice
  5. Generosity
  6. Perceptions of corruption

While average income and life expectancy definitely carry their weight in explaining happiness levels, what’s more interesting are the Gallup World Poll (GWP) questions about the other, more subjective variables.

  • Social support
    “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them?”
  • Freedom to make life choices
    “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”
  • Generosity
    “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?”
  • Perceptions of corruption
    “Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not?”
    “Is corruption widespread within businesses or not?”

HOW HAPPY IS THE WORLD?

The top tier of happiest countries happen to be Nordic, with Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland making it into the top five. Aside from having a common geographic location, these countries are also well-known for their social safety nets, using a high tax burden to fund government services such as education and healthcare.

A surprising entry near the top of the list might be Costa Rica. It’s the happiest country in the Latin American region, despite persisting income inequality issues. Although it has a lower GDP per capita than other high-ranking entries, the country has more than made up for it through social support; Costa Rica has invested significantly in education and health as a proportion of GDP, and the nation is also known for housing a culture that forms solid social networks of friends, families and neighborhoods.

On the other hand, 18 of the least happy countries are concentrated on the African continent. GDP per capita varies intensely among the bottom countries, and many report a lack of freedom overall. A silver lining is that social support is relatively stable, and there have been steady improvements over time.

Finally, the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis has had a ripple effect on global happiness. The report demonstrates where the most and fewest advances have been made.

  • Togo
    Happiness is on the upswing, as the West African nation climbs 17 places to demonstrate the most improvement.
  • Venezuela
    Meanwhile, the South American country plummeted even further, in part from socio-political changes and dramatic hyperinflation.

Where does your country fare on this scale?
Changes in Global Happiness Over Time

Eudaimonia [happiness] is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.

― Aristotle

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