||Population Change and Distribution: 1990 to 2000
to 2000 Population Increase Was Largest in American History
Grew Fastest in the 1990s; South Reached 100 Million
State Grew; Nevada's Rate was Fastest
Majority of Americans Lived in the Ten Most Populous States
Counties Grew, While Some Lost Population
2000 counted 281.4 million people in the United States, a 13.2 percent
increase from the 1990 Census population of 248.7 million. Population
growth from 1990 to 2000 varied geographically, with large population
increases in some areas and little growth or decline in others. This
report, part of a series that analyzes population and housing data
collected from Census 2000, highlights population size and distribution
changes between 1990 and 2000 in regions, States, counties, and large
||1990 to 2000 Population Increase Was Largest in American
|District of Columbia
|Table 1. U.S. Population
for Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: 1990 and 2000
Sources: Census 2000, 1990 census, Population and Housing Unit
Counts, United States, (1990 CPH-2-1)
Sources: Census 2000, 1990 census, Population
and Housing Unit Counts, United States, (1990 CPH-2-1) The
population growth of 32.7 million people between 1990 and 2000
represents the largest census-to-census increase in American
history.2 The previous record
increase was 28.0 million people between 1950 and 1960, a gain
fueled primarily by the post-World War II baby boom (1946 to
1964). Total decennial population growth declined steadily
in the three decades following the 1950s peak before rising
again in the 1990s.
In percentage terms, the population increase of 13.2 percent for
the 1990s was higher than the growth rates of 9.8 percent for the
1980s and 11.4 percent for the 1970s. The 1990s growth rate was
similar to the 13.4 percent growth in the 1960s and was well below
the 18.4 percent growth for the 1950s.
||West Grew Fastest in the 1990s; South Reached 100
Population growth varied significantly
by region in the 1990s, with higher rates in the West (19.7 percent)
and South (17.3 percent) and much lower rates in the Midwest (7.9
percent) and Northeast (5.5 percent).3
The West increased by 10.4 million to reach 63.2 million people,
while the South grew by 14.8 million to a population of 100.2 million
people. The Midwest gained 4.7 million to reach 64.4 million people,
and the Northeast's increase of 2.8 million brought it to
53.6 million people.
Because of differences in growth rates, the regional shares of the
total population have shifted considerably in recent decades. Between
1950 and 2000, the South's share of the population increased
from 31.2 to 35.6 percent and the West increased from 13.3 to 22.5
percent. Meanwhile, despite overall population growth in each of
the past five decades, the Midwest's share of total population
fell from 29.4 to 22.9 percent and the Northeast's proportion
declined from 26.1 to 19.0 percent.
||Every State Grew; Nevada's Rate was Fastest
||State population growth
for the 1990s ranged from a high of 66 percent in Nevada to a low
of 0.5 percent in North Dakota (see Table 1). This decade was the
only one in the 20th Century in which all States gained
population. Following Nevada, the fastest-growing States were Arizona
(40 percent), Colorado (31 percent), Utah (30 percent), and Idaho
(29 percent). Following North Dakota, the slowest-growing States were
West Virginia (0.8 percent), Pennsylvania (3.4 percent), Connecticut
(3.6 percent), and Maine (3.8 percent). Puerto Rico's population
grew by 8.1 percent to reach 3.8 million, while the District of Columbia
declined by 5.7 percent.
California had the largest population increase during the 1990s, adding
4.1 million people to its population. Texas (up 3.9 million), Florida
(3.0 million), Georgia (1.7 million), and Arizona (1.5 million) rounded
out the top five largest-gaining States.
Within the Northeast, New Hampshire grew fastest for the fourth straight
decade--up 11 percent since 1990. New York and New Jersey gained the
most population, increasing by 986,000 and 684,000 respectively. In
the Midwest, Minnesota was the fastest-growing State for the third
straight decade, growing by 12 percent since 1990. Illinois (up 989,000)
and Michigan (up 643,000) had the largest numerical increases.
While no State in the Midwest grew faster than the U.S. rate of 13.2
percent, several States in the region had their fastest growth rates
in many decades. Nebraska's 8 percent increase and Iowa's
5 percent increase were the highest growth rates for those States
since their 1910 to 1920 increases of 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Missouri's 9 percent increase was its highest since a 16 percent
increase from 1890 to 1900.
In the South, Georgia was the fastest-growing
State, up by 26 percent since 1990. This was Georgia's most
rapid census-to-census population growth rate in the 20th Century,
and the 1990s were the only decade in that century when Florida was
not the South's fastest-growing State.4
Texas (up 3.9 million) and Florida (up 3.0 million) had the largest
Growth in the West was led by Nevada, now the country's fastest-growing
State for each of the past four decades. Of the 13 States in the region,
only Wyoming (8.9 percent), Hawaii (9.3 percent), and Montana (12.9
percent) grew slower than the U.S. rate of 13.2 percent.
||The Majority of Americans Lived in the Ten Most Populous
||The 10 most populous
States contained 54 percent of the population in 2000. California,
with 33.9 million people, was the most populous one, accounting for
12 percent of the nation's population. The second and third
most populous States -- Texas, at 20.9 million people, and New York,
at 19.0 million-- together accounted for 14 percent of the U.S. population.
The next seven most populous States -- Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania,
Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, and Georgia --contained an additional
28 percent of the population. The 10 most populous States are distributed
among all four regions: three each in the Northeast, the Midwest,
and the South, with one in the West.
The 10 least populous States accounted for only 3 percent of the total
population. Of the 10, three are in the Northeast (New Hampshire,
Rhode Island, and Vermont), two in the Midwest (North Dakota and South
Dakota), one in the South (Delaware) and four in the West (Hawaii,
Montana, Alaska, and Wyoming).
||Most Counties Grew, While Some Lost Population
Percent Population Change: 1990 to 2000
This map shows population growth between 1990 and 2000 for the
country's 3,141 counties and equivalent areas. Some broad patterns
are immediately evident. A band of counties that lost population—in
some cases declining more than 10 percent—stretches across
the Great Plains States from the Mexican border to the Canadian
border. A second band of slow growth includes much of the interior
Northeast and Appalachia, extending from Maine through western
Pennsylvania and West Virginia to eastern Kentucky. Rapid population
growth occurred in the interior West and much of the South—particularly
in counties in Florida, northern Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee,
southwestern Missouri, and eastern Texas.
Figure 2 underscores the continued
concentration of population growth both within and adjacent to
metropolitan areas.5 In Texas,
for instance, the Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio metropolitan
areas show up as pockets of fast population growth, while most
of the nonmetropolitan counties in the State recorded either
slow growth or population decline.
In the slow-growing upper Midwest, the rapid growth of counties
in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota
metropolitan areas stands in sharp contrast to the population
declines that occurred in most of the region's other counties.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area has a common growth
pattern: slow expansion in the central county or counties and
faster growth in outlying counties. In the South, the Atlanta,
Georgia metropolitan area also shows this pattern, with a large
group of fast-growing, primarily outlying, counties surrounding
two slower-growing central counties.
Population growth also differed between
counties bordering Canada and those counties bordering Mexico.6 Between
1990 and 2000, the counties on the Mexican border grew rapidly,
up 21 percent. In contrast, the population on the Canadian border
remained stable over the period, increasing just 1 percent, with
many counties experiencing population decline. In 2000, 6.3 million
Americans lived in counties that bordered Mexico, while 5.0 million
resided in counties bordering Canada.
Growth differences between coastal
and non-coastal counties are also evident in Figure 2, particularly
in the West, where coastal counties grew more slowly than non-coastal
ones.7 Nationwide, while some
coastal counties grew rapidly in the 1990s, their overall growth
rate of 11 percent was exceeded by that of non-coastal counties
(up 15 percent). Over one half of all Americans (53 percent or
148.3 million people) lived in a coastal county in 2000.
Five counties more than doubled their populations during the
1990s. Douglas County, Colorado (south of Denver) had the largest
rate of population growth between 1990 and 2000, increasing by
191 percent. Following Douglas were Forsyth County, Georgia (north
of Atlanta), up 123 percent; Elbert County, Colorado (southeast
of Denver, adjacent to the metropolitan area), up 106 percent;
Henry County, Georgia (east of Atlanta), 103 percent; and Park
County, Colorado (southwest of Denver), up 102 percent.
How Did the Population Change in the Ten Largest American
Eight of the 10 largest cities in 2000 gained population
in the 1990s; only Philadelphia and Detroit declined in size.
New York remained the country's largest city, passing the eight
million threshold for the first time. Phoenix was the fastest
growing of the 10 largest cities, up by 34 percent over the decade.
|New York, NY
|Los Angeles, CA
|Chicago , IL
|San Diego, CA
|San Antonio, TX
|Population Change and
2000 Share for the Largest Metropolitan Areas: 1990 to 2000
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census
2000; 1990 Census, Population and Housing Unit Counts,
United States (1990 CPH-2-1).
New York also had the largest numerical increase of any city, gaining
686,000 people. The 1990s was the first decade since the 1930s that
New York City led in city population growth.
Los Angeles gained the most population in each of the decades from
the 1940s through the 1990s, with the exception of the 1970s, when
Houston gained the most.
Have Any More Counties Crossed the One Million Population
Four counties exceeded the one million mark for the first time in Census 2000:
Clark County, Nevada (1.4 million); Palm Beach County, Florida (1.1 million);
Franklin County, Ohio (1.1 million); and St. Louis County, Missouri (1.0 million).
populations shown in this report were originally published in 1990
Census reports and do not include subsequent revisions resulting
from boundary or other changes.
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increase may be caused by changes in census coverage, as well as
births, deaths, and net immigration.
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region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The
Midwest includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota,
Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
The South includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of
Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi,
North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia,
and West Virginia. The West includes Alaska, Arizona, California,
Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah,
Washington, and Wyoming.
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DC, treated as a State equivalent for statistical purposes, had
a larger percent gain than Florida in the 1910s and 1930s.
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report uses the June 30, 1999 metropolitan areas as defined by the
Office of Management and Budget for all 1990 and 2000 metropolitan
area populations. All metropolitan areas in the text are either
metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) or consolidated metropolitan
statistical areas (CMSAs). There are 276 metropolitan areas in the
United States--258 MSAs and 18 CMSAs. In some cases, an abbreviated
version of the full MSA or CMSA name was used in the text and tables.
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6 The U.S.-Mexico
county-based border region includes 25 counties in Texas, New Mexico,
Arizona, and California. The U.S.- Canada county-based border region
includes 64 counties in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York,
Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and
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areas as defined by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency,
1992. Covers 673 counties and equivalent areas with at least 15
percent of their land area either in a coastal watershed (drainage
area) or in a coastal cataloging unit (a coastal area between watersheds).
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||Adapted from U.S.
Census Bureau, Population Change and Distribution: 1990 to 2000,
by Marc J. Perry and Paul J. Mackun (with Josephine D. Baker, Colleen
D. Joyce, Lisa R. Lollock, and Lucinda S. Pearson) in Census 2000