Gaining and Losing Shares

Population Distribution by Region, 1790 to 2010

July 19, 2012

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The Northeast and South each held about half of the U.S. population in 1790. As the Midwest opened to settlement, it gained an increasingly large share of the population due to migration from the Northeast and South, as well as international migration. By 1890, the Midwest held its largest share of the population. The 20th century saw continued declines in the shares of the population living in the Northeast and Midwest alongside gains in the South and West.

See Census Regions and Divisions of the United States for a map of Census regions. Data for territories are included in the regional totals. Data do not include “Indians not taxed” prior to 1900.