North Dakota sets pace on population growth

A thriving oil and gas industry helps the state expand at nearly twice the rate of its closest challenger.

TRIBUNE WASHINGTON BUREAUDecember 31, 2013 

The West and South continued to drive growth nationally, accounting for more than four in five new residents, while growth in the Northeast and Midwest continued to lag behind, according to new census estimates released Monday.

Population estimates are eagerly watched by state officials since they determine the flow of money into many federal programs and, ultimately, representation in Congress. The number of representatives each state has in the House gets readjusted each decade.

California (38,332,521) and Texas (26,448,193) remain the nation’s most populous states, with New York (19,651,127) narrowly maintaining its third position over Florida (19,552,860) as of July 1. The Sunshine State will soon surpass New York, if it hasn’t already, because its population grew three times faster, according to the census estimates, which are based on data measuring births, deaths and migration.

California’s growth again outpaced the national trend, with an increase of 332,643 year to year, or 0.9 percent. Texas actually saw a greater raw population increase, however, expanding by 387,397.

North Dakota’s population stood at 723,393 on July 1, according to the census data, a 3.1 percent increase from 2012. Since the 2010 census, North Dakota’s population has grown 7.6 percent, far outpacing the national growth rate of 2.4 percent during that period.

Population in the District of Columbia also grew at a sustained clip, rising 2.1 percent year to year to 646,449.

Utah grew next fastest, at a rate of 1.6 percent, followed by Colorado (1.5 percent), Texas (1.5 percent) and Nevada (1.3 percent). Idaho’s growth rate was 1 percent.

West Virginia and Maine actually saw slight population declines in the last year. Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Vermont and Illinois posted the slowest population growth.

The national population stood at 316,128,839 on July 1, an increase of 2.3 million, or 0.7 percent.

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