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New Florida Estimates Show Nation’s Third-Largest State Reaching Historic Milestone

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After decades of rapid population increase, Florida now is the nation’s fastest-growing state for the first time since 1957, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 population estimates released today.

Florida's population increased by 1.9% to 22,244,823 between 2021 and 2022, surpassing Idaho, the previous year’s fastest-growing state.

Florida's percentage gains since 1946 have been impressive: its 2022 population is just over 9 times its 1946 population of 2,440,000.

For the third most-populous state to also be the fastest growing is notable because it requires significant population gains.

Florida a Consistent Top Gainer

In the post-World War II era after 1946, Florida's percentage increase in population each year has fluctuated but has always been positive (Figure 1).

In the 1950s, as air conditioning became more prevalent in warmer parts of the United States, Florida's annual population growth averaged 6.1% (Table 1). It hit 8% in both 1956 and 1957, near the peak of the baby boom, marking the last time Florida was the fastest-growing state — until now.

During that decade, Florida’s growth far outpaced the national rate, which was between 1.5% and 2% each year that decade. An annual population growth of 8% is exceptionally rapid and translates to a population doubling roughly every nine years. 

Florida Grew Even When U.S. Population Increase Slowed

The baby boom (1946-64) came to an end in the 1960s and Florida’s extraordinary growth during the 1950s slowed. However, “slowed” is a bit of a misnomer since, between 1960 and 1989, Florida’s average annual growth remained over 3.0%. Generally, The Sunshine State’s population grew at a rate about double the national average. 

In the 2000s, the slowing trend continued with Florida averaging an annual growth of 1.7%. While this might seem slow compared to Florida’s growth in prior years, it is still a brisk pace. During the same period, the national growth hovered around 1.0% a year.

That trend has continued since 2010. Between 2010 and 2020, national growth dipped from 0.9% to 0.5% each year while Florida's increases ranged from 1.0% to 2.0%. In 2022, Florida’s growth was nearing that previous decade high at 1.9%, not high compared to past gains but still the fastest among the states. Interestingly, Florida had the second-largest numeric gains behind Texas.

Vintage 2022 population estimates scheduled for release over the next few months will shed light on which areas and demographic groups contributed to the state’s growth.

What Are the Fastest-Growing States?

Why hasn’t Florida been the country's fastest-growing state in any other year since 1957? 

In a word — Nevada.

Florida's percentage gains since 1946 have been impressive: its 2022 population is just over 9 times its 1946 population of 2,440,000.

But Nevada's increases are even higher. Its 2022 population of 3,177,772 is a stunning 22 times its 1946 population of 143,000. For 36 of the 76 years since 1946, Nevada has held the top spot.

Arizona, Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, and Alaska are among the other fastest-growing in the postwar era.

User note: The intercensal estimates datasets used do not contain July 1 estimates for 1970 and 1980; for those two years, the estimates were interpolated using the previous/next year and then change based on the new estimated value.

The intercensal estimates for 2010-2019 have not yet been released. For this period, we used the Vintage 2020 postcensal estimates.

Marc Perry is senior demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division.

Luke Rogers is chief of the Population Estimates Branch.

Kristie Wilder is a demographer in the Population Estimates Branch.

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Page Last Revised - January 9, 2023
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