America is home to more than 328 million people, but did you know that more than 53 percent live in just 10 states?
Naturally, these 10 states are home to the country’s biggest urban centers. The most popular states are, for the most part, located along the United States’ borders, giving rise to the term “flyover states” to refer to the more sparsely populated interior states.
The following population estimate numbers were obtained from the most recent count by the U.S. Census, which was completed in 2018.
With 9,995,915 residents, Michigan beats out New Jersey by more than 900,000 people to slide into the tenth spot. The auto industry in Detroit has historically been linked to population growth in the Great Lakes State. While that industry has downsized considerably, cheap real estate has recently attracted home-hungry millennials to the state.
9. North Carolina
About 10,383,620 people call the Tarheel State home. There are lots of reasons North Carolina has grown to be such a populous state, including its temperate climate, prestigious universities, and a relatively low cost of living. Perhaps chief among them is the favorable business climate, which has drawn many employers to the state and jobs to boot. Forbes named North Carolina the Best State for Business two years in a row (2017 and 2018).
The Peach State is home to 10,519,475 people. Like North Carolina, its population blossomed between 2010 and 2018, growing a robust 8.57 percent. Close to half of the state residents, more than 5.8 million people, live in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area. The next biggest metro area, Augusta, is home to 600,000.
The perennial swing state of Ohio has 11,689,442 million residents. While many of its traditional Rust Belt cities like Cleveland, Dayton, and Akron have seen shrinking populations, the capital city of Columbus has boomed, growing more than 11 percent since 2010.
Buoyed by Chicago, the country’s third-most populous city, The Land of Lincoln is home to 12,741,080 people. Of all the states in the top 10, Illinois is the only one that actually shrunk during the last eight years. The state shed 0.71 percent of its population, the equivalent of over 90,000 people.
The Quaker State grew at a snail’s pace of 0.82 percent over the last eight years, but it was enough to take the fifth-place spot from Illinois. Pennsylvania is now home to an estimated 12,807,060 people.
4. New York
From the top of the Adirondacks to the hot dog stands of Coney Island, about 19,542,209 people call the Empire State home. A big chunk of them, about 44 percent of the state’s population, live in close proximity to each other in New York City.
Florida is the second-fastest growing state on the list, boosting its population by 13.27 percent over the last eight years. That brings the state’s total population to about 21,299,325 people. A steady flood of retiring Baby Boomers has given a bump to the Sunshine State’s growth.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including population growth. The Lone Star State is the fastest-growing state in the country, expanding its population at a rate of 14.14 percent since the last census tally and is now home to 28,701,845 million people.
Texas’ growth is powered by its cities. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas all have a spot in the top 10 most populous cities in the country. Austin is right behind in 11th place. All told, some 6 million Texans live in it four biggest cities.
Apparently, everybody wants to move to California, and for good reason. Not only is the California economy the largest in the nation, but if California were a country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world.
The Golden State grew more than 6 percent from 2010 to 2018, reaching a population of 39,557,045 people. It is also the third-largest state by area, covering more than 163,000 square miles. That gives California even more room to grow.
Some people, however, think California should be broken up into three smaller states. Activists came close to getting a referendum to break up California on the ballot in 2018. Proponents argued that the proposal would allow all residents to obtain better infrastructure, better education, and lower taxes, according to venture capitalist Tim Draper who sponsored the failed measure. It would also give the people more representation in the U.S. Senate, giving the population within its boundaries six senators instead of just two.