These Are the States the Most Americans Are Moving to (and Leaving)

Boise, Idaho hot air balloon festival | Shutterstock
Boise, Idaho hot air balloon festival | Shutterstock

Any number of factors go into why people decide to move from one state to another. Maybe it's to take a better job, or to be closer to family, or simply ditch the long slog of winter for somewhere you can hit the beach year-round (yes, please). Though, as demographics shift, old-school industries stumble, and the population ages, some unexpected locales are proving more popular than ever, at least according to the latest intel on the fastest-growing states in the country

In a fresh batch of data collected by the US Census Bureau between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, the fastest-growing states in the country in terms of population last year were Nevada and Idaho, which saw an increase in people by roughly 2.1% apiece (both states were at the top of the list last year, too). Utah, Arizona, and Florida followed closely behind, rounding out the top five states where population grew the most during the past year. 

These are the top 10 states that saw the biggest boom in population during the aforementioned 12 months, ranked from slowest to highest percentage growth.

10. North Carolina (+1.1%)
9. South Carolina (+1.3%)
8. Texas (+1.3%)
7. Colorado (+1.4%)
6. Washington (+1.5%)
5. Florida (+1.5%)
4. Arizona (+1.7%)
3. Utah (+1.9%)
2. Idaho (+2.1%)
1. Nevada (+2.1%)

Population Change for States (and Puerto Rico): From April 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018

So, what explains the big increases in these somewhat unexpected places? Well, essentially, it's because there have been more deaths and fewer births elsewhere. In fact, nine states actually saw a decline in population over the last year, including New York, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, Connecticut, and Wyoming.

“Many states have seen fewer births and more deaths in recent years,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer and statistician with Census Bureau, in a press release. “If those states are not gaining from either domestic or international migration they will experience either low population growth or outright decline.”

Overall, the US population grew by 0.6% over the last year, per the Census stats, thanks to both "natural increase" (births) and international migration. Also, while both Texas and Florida made the top 10 in terms of percentage increases in population, they took the number one spot in two other metrics. Texas had the biggest growth in terms of actual people living there (379,128) and Florida saw the biggest influx of domestic migrators (132,602). 

And sure, there are lots of reasons certain states are growing fast, but hey, maybe Boise and Reno really are underrated after all. 

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.