US population declines, moves South and West

The nation’s natural increase in population has dropped below 1 million for the first time in the country’s history, according to data released by the US Census Bureau. Forty two states and the District of Columbia had fewer births than deaths last year. The ‘natural’ increase is defined as births minus deaths.

Immigration makes up for a natural decline in the domestic population. And the total population figure is still growing, at just under 330 million. But the data show that within the US borders, people are on the move. High tax cold weather states in the North East are losing population to warmer states in the South and West.

Article 1, Section 2 of the US Constitution says that the number of representatives each State has in the Congress (the House) is determined by the Census. It’s likely, that after the 2020 Census, Florida’s Congressional delegation will have 29 members and New York’s 26. Both currently have 27.

Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon are all expected to pick up one new Congressional seat in 2020. California–which lost over 200,000 citizens to internal migration last year–, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Illinois are all set to lose a seat. It will be the first time since 1850 that California’s delegation, currently at 53, has shrunk. According to the Bureau:

The South, the largest of the four regions with a population of 125,580,448 in 2019, saw the largest numeric growth (1,011,015) and percentage growth (0.8%) between 2018 and 2019.This growth is driven mainly by natural increase (359,114) and net domestic migration (407,913), which is the movement of people from one area to another within the United States.

The Northeast region, the smallest of the four regions with a population of 55,982,803 in 2019, saw population decrease for the first time this decade, declining by 63,817 or -0.1%. This decline was due to net domestic migration (-294,331), which offset population gains from natural increase (97,152) and net international migration (134,145), or the difference between the number of people moving into the country and out of the country. 

Forty states and the District of Columbia saw population increases between 2018 and 2019. Ten states lost population between 2018 and 2019, four of which had losses over 10,000 people. The 10 states that lost population were New York (-76,790; -0.4%), Illinois (-51,250; -0.4%), West Virginia (-12,144; -0.7%), Louisiana (-10,896; -0.2%), Connecticut (-6,233; -0.2%), Mississippi (-4,871; -0.2%), Hawaii (-4,721; -0.3%), New Jersey (-3,835; 0.0%), Alaska (-3,594; -0.5%), and Vermont (-369  ; -0.1%).