In August, New York City received some good news from the United States Census Bureau: Despite hand-wringing during the early days of the pandemic about the city’s decline, its population actually grew from 8.18 million to 8.80 million over the last decade. New York State, however, does not appear to be so lucky.
Census data released on Monday shows that the Empire State’s population decreased by more than 319,000 from July 2020 to July 2021, marking the most significant population decline of any state in the U.S. at a loss of 1.9 percent. (Washington, D.C., had it rougher, with the swamp drained of almost 3 percent of its population.) When domestic migration was taken into account, New York suffered an even worse net population loss of 352,185 residents.
Many of the larger population trends held true over the past year, despite the skewing of the pandemic. Texas, which grew by over 3.3 million people between 2010 and 2020, saw the largest jump in its population, increasing by 1.1 percent or 310,288 people. Reports of Californians flooding the housing market in Idaho were on to something, with the Gem State experiencing the fastest rate of growth, at 2.9 percent.
In total, 16 other states suffered population losses in the time frame, which the Census Bureau described as “a historically large number of states to lose population.” With the country growing as a whole by just 0.1 percent — the slowest rate in any year since American independence — the agency naturally attributed the slow population growth to the pandemic. With American life expectancy dropping by 1.5 years due to COVID deaths, as well as a small decline in births during the pandemic, 2021 is the first year that the U.S. population grew by fewer than one million people since 1937.