These Are The US States Losing (& Gaining) Population


As pandemic patterns of U.S. population growth are normalizing, three states have remained among the U.S. jurisdictions which are shrinking.

Statista’s Katharina Buchholz reports that, according to a December release by the Census Bureau, California, Illinois and New York – along with West Virginia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Hawaii and Oregon – lost population in 2023 compared to 2022. Throughout the new Census first released in 2020, all three states have shown continuously sinking population numbers. New York and Illinois even started to see their populations decline under the old Census since 2016 and 2014, respectively, while California experienced a stagnating number of inhabitants in 2019.

While during pandemic conditions, many other states experienced the same shrinking populations (19 at the height of the trend in 2022), the release of the 2023 data now shows that the demographic problems that have plagued some states since before the pandemic are still ongoing.

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Americans resettling because of high cost of living do play a role in this development, but changes in immigration into the U.S. have also had a big part in the state’s ongoing population decline as immigrants increasingly diversify their destinations in the U.S., favoring – like domestic migrants – the Sun Belt states, but also smaller cities.

The story of New York, the country’s fastest shrinking state as of the latest Census release, fits this mold. New York lost 0.5 percent of its population between July 2022 and June 2023 and the previous Census had recorded a decreasing population in the state since 2016. The speed of New York’s population shrink also seems to have sped up since – from just 0.1 percent in 2016 to 0.4 percent in 2019 and now 0.5 percent in 2023. While Covid-19-era losses were even higher in New York, which became the poster child of pandemic city flight, normalization seems to mean that New York is now back on its trajectory of steadily increasing population loss. The state experienced a negative domestic net migration of more than 200,000 people last year and it received only a net 73,900 people from overseas, staying behind Florida, California and Texas for international migration.

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