us-state-share

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

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.

Subscribe to Visual Capitalist

Thank you!
Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.

Follow Visual Capitalist on Twitter
Like Visual Capitalist on Facebook
Follow Visual Capitalist on LinkedIn

Pre-order our brand new book!

The Money Project

The War on Cash
38 Facts on the Modern U.S. Dollar
Trump's Entire Financial History Video
Currency and the Collapse of the Roman Empire
Buying Power of the U.S. Dollar Over the Last Century

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):



Mornings are better with Visual Capitalist.coffee_email1

Thank you!
Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.