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Marc Perry and Paul Mackun
The increase of 32.7 million people in the United States between 1990 and 2000 is the largest 10-year population increase in U.S. history. For the first time in the 20th century all states gained population, according to the Commerce Department's Census Bureau.
In this second in a series of Census 2000 briefs titled Population Change and Distribution: 1990 to 2000 , the Census Bureau analyzed the nation's population's growth -- from 248.7 million in 1990 to 281.4 million in 2000 -- at the state, metropolitan area, county and large city levels.
The previous record increase between decennial censuses, the 28.0 million jump between 1950 and 1960, occurred during the post-World War II 'baby boom.'
During the past decade, the fastest-growing region was the West at 19.7 percent, which added 10.4 million people in the 1990s for a total of 63.2 million. The fastest-growing states in the nation were all located in the West: Nevada (66.3 percent), Arizona (40.0 percent), Colorado (30.6 percent), Utah (29.6 percent) and Idaho (28.5 percent). California recorded the largest numeric increase of any state, 4.1 million people.
The South was the second fastest-growing region (17.3 percent), adding a total of 14.8 million people in the 1990s. Georgia was its fastest growing state (up 26.4 percent). Texas, which grew by 3.9 million, and Florida, up 3.0 million, showed the largest numeric increases.
The Midwest grew by 7.9 percent, adding 4.7 million people. Minnesota (up 12.4 percent) was the region's bellwether for the third straight decade. Illinois, up 988,000, and Michigan, up 643,000, recorded the largest numeric increases. The state with the nation's lowest population growth was in the Midwest: North Dakota (up 0.5 percent).
Population in the Northeast increased by 2.8 million, or 5.5 percent with New Hampshire (up 12.4 percent) growing the fastest in that region for the fourth straight decade.
Meanwhile, New York, up 986,000, and New Jersey, up 648,000, gained the most population in the Northeast.
Counties with large population increases generally were in or near major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Houston and Washington, D.C. Maricopa County, Ariz. (Phoenix) had the largest population gain: 950,000 people. Counties in Florida, north Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, southwest Missouri and eastern Texas experienced rapid population growth.
A band of counties that lost population -- in some cases more than 10 percent -- stretched across the Great Plains states from the Mexican to the Canadian borders. A second band of slow growth included much of the interior Northeast and Appalachia, extending from Maine through western Pennsylvania and West Virginia to eastern Kentucky.
"Given the regional population trends of the last decade, it is not surprising that counties and cities with the biggest gains are in the West and South while the Northeast had the largest declines," said Census Bureau demographer Marc Perry. "Douglas County, Colo., near Denver grew by an astounding 191 percent -- the fastest growth of any county in the country."
New York continued to be the most populous metro area with a population of 21.2 million, followed by Los Angeles with a population of 16.4 million. Las Vegas was the fastest-growing metropolitan area with an 83.3 percent growth rate. It was followed by Naples, Fla., with a growth rate of 65 percent, and seven other areas with growth rates between 44.0 and 50.0 percent. The 10 fastest-growing metro areas were located in the South and West.
In 2000, more than 8 out of 10 of the nation's population (226.0 million) lived in metropolitan areas and 3 in 10 were in metro areas of at least 5.0 million people. Metro areas with populations between 2.0 million and 5.0 million contained 14.4 percent of the population and grew the fastest (19.8 percent).
Also released today were tables with total population rankings for states, metro areas, counties and selected places. Tables for states and cities of 100,000 or more population by race and Hispanic origin also were released and are available at <http://www.census.gov/main/ www/cen2000.html>. To view the entire Census 2000 brief, go to <http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs.html>.
Additional Census 2000 briefs will be released over the next several months on age, race, sex and housing.