Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Silver leads gold

For the 19th consecutive "year," Nevada topped the nation as the fastest growing state. But this time, the race was closer than it has been in ages. The Silver State's population increased by 3.5 percent between July 1, 2004 and July 1, 2005, according to the latest Census Bureau figures. But Arizona was right behind, with a growth rate of just under 3.5 percent for the same period.
Overall, the country's population rose by 2.8 million people -- 0.9 percent -- to 296.4 million. And as usual, the South and West monopolized the list of fastest growing states.
After Nevada and Arizona, the fastest growers were: Idaho, 2.4 percent; Florida, 2.3 percent; Utah, 2 percent; Georgia, 1.7 percent; Texas, 1.7 percent; North Carolina, 1.7 percent; Delaware, 1.6 percent, and Oregon, 1.4 percent. This was Oregon's first time on the top ten list, edging out New Mexico, which recorded a 1.3 percent population gain.
Regionally, the South now accounts for 36 percent of the nation's population; the West, 23 percent; the Midwest, 22 percent, and the Northeast, 18 percent.
California remains the country's most populous state with 36.1 million people. Texas is second with 22.9 million residents and New York is third with 19.3 million.
In numerical terms, though, just five states -- Florida, Texas, California, Arizona and Georgia -- accounted for more than half the country's population growth in the 12-month period. Florida's population grew by 404,000 people -- nearly 111 a day -- while Texas's grew by 388,000. California gained 290,000 people, while Arizona grew by 199,000 and Georgia increased by 154,000.
As of July 1, according to the Census Bureau, just 10 states accounted for 54 percent of the country's population. California (36.1 million) is the only one in the top ten in the West. The other nine are evenly divided between the South -- Texas (22.9 million), Florida (17.8 million) and Georgia (9.1 million), the Midwest -- Illinois (12.8 million), Ohio (11.5 million) and Michigan (10.1 million), and the Northeast -- New York (19.3 million), Pennsylvania (12.4 million) and New Jersey (8.7 million).
Several states lost population during the 12-month period. New York's population fell by 26,000, while Massachusetts' dipped by 8,700. Rhode Island lost 3,700, as did the District of Columbia.
North Dakota was nearly static, gaining just 369 people, the smallest numerical change in the latest survey.



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