New data from the U.S. Census indicates that population growth and domestic migration patterns have continued to move away from the East and the Midwest to the South and West, at accelerated rates, the website newgeography is reporting.

Equally important, according to the site, pre-Great Recession interstate mobility rates have been restored.  The Census population estimates for the nation, states and the District of Columbia indicate a population increase for the South of 7.7 million between 2010 and 2016. The West gained 4.7 million. By contrast, the Midwest grew 1.1 million, while the East, including Connecticut, was even lower, at 900,000.

Combined, the South and West accounted for 87 percent of the national growth, the website’s analysis of the Census data indicated. In 2011, the South and West captured 82 percent of the national growth. By 2016, the South and West had risen to 94 percent of the national population increase. The South, alone had 57 percent of the growth, up from 52 percent in 2011. The West also had a strong gain, from 31 percent in 2011 to 36 percent in 2016.  The growth leaders:

  • Texas has led the nation in total population growth. Total population growth includes the natural change (births minus deaths), international migration and net domestic migration. Texas added 2.7 million residents, a 10.8 percent increase compared to its 2010 population. This is more than double the national rate of 4.7 percent.
  • California was well behind, with a gain of 2.0 million, despite having started the decade with a 50 percent higher population. California’s growth rate was 5.3 percent.
  • Florida added the third largest number of new residents, at 1.8 million, for a 9.6 percent growth rate from 2010.

Three states suffered population losses over the period. Illinois lost 30,000 residents and West Virginia lost 20,000. Vermont lost 1,000 and was joined by New England neighbors Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island in the bottom 10, with slim increases in overall population.

International migration was a bright spot for the Northeast, which along with the South were the two leading regions, followed by the West and Midwest.

The East and Midwest had a near monopoly on the bottom 10 in net domestic migration. New York lost 867,000 net domestic migrants, while Illinois lost 540,000. California’s loss was 383,000. New Jersey lost 336,000 and Michigan 216,000. Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Ohio lost between 100,000 and 200,000, while Maryland and Massachusetts lost between 70,000 and 100,000.

In 2016, there were 825,000 interstate moves, according to the data outlined by newgeography, which is more than double the post-2000 low of 411,000 in 2011. The 2016 moves exceeded the 2001 to 2009 average by more than 10 percent

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