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States by Population in the US in 2023

Do you ever wonder which states are bursting at the seams and which ones remain tranquil and unhurried? 

Delving into the “states by population” provides a revealing snapshot of America’s demographic ebb and flow. 

In this article, we’ll navigate through the most and least populated states, juxtapose their unique attributes, and offer intriguing insights into their growth patterns.

Population in the United States

Although the US exhibits a diverse distribution of its populace across its 50 states, most states witnessed an upward population trend, according to latest data from 2023. The most visible population growth is visible in Utah, with a rate of 1.50%, trailed closely by Idaho, which grew by 1.43%. 

The coastal regions, from the sun-soaked shores of California in the West to the bustling streets of New York and Florida in the East, typically see higher population counts. Similarly, states gracing the southern boundary, like Texas, are densely populated. 

On the other hand, states nestled in the heartland, such as the sweeping plains of the Midwest, often have fewer inhabitants. These states often tend to exhibit population decrease, as well. For instance, West Virginia’s population took a dip by 0.33% in 2023. 

Yet, there are anomalies like Illinois, a Midwestern gem, ranking high in population numbers.

10 States with the Highest Population in 2023

The following table showcases the most populous states in 2023, their growth rates, population density, and what percentage they constitute of the total population of the US. 









Growth Rate

% of US

Density (/mi²)










North Carolina








































New York































10. Michigan 

Nestled in the Great Lakes region, Michigan’s population hovers above 10 million. With a subtle growth of 1.49% since 2010, it remains an influential state in the industrial heartland. Famous for its auto industry in Detroit, the state’s slightly negative recent growth suggests evolving economic landscapes and migration patterns. Its vast freshwater coastline continues to be a draw for many.

9. North Carolina

With a population slightly exceeding 10.8 million, North Carolina’s growth trajectory since 2010 showcases a 13.6% rise. The state, renowned for its research triangle and vibrant arts scene, has become an enticing destination for both businesses and families, reflecting in its consistent demographic expansion.

8. Georgia

Georgia, fondly known as the Peach State, houses over 11 million residents. Displaying a commendable growth of nearly 14% since 2010, it’s among the rapidly expanding states in the Southeast. Its capital, Atlanta, is a major economic and cultural hub, possibly driving the state’s growth.

7. Ohio

Ohio’s populace stands close to 11.75 million. Its growth since 2010 modestly registers at 1.83%. Often considered a political bellwether, Ohio’s demographic shifts have significant national implications. With a virtually stagnant growth rate recently, it underscores the migration trends prevalent in the Midwest.

6. Illinois

Home to the bustling city of Chicago, Illinois accommodates over 12 million people. Despite its central location and diverse economy, it has witnessed a decline in its population since 2010, dropping by 2.75%. This is indicative of larger economic and infrastructural challenges that the state has been grappling with in recent years.

5. Pennsylvania

Located in the northeastern U.S., Pennsylvania, with nearly 13 million inhabitants, has seen modest growth since 2010, only around 1.81%. Historically rich, the state boasts cities like Philadelphia, which played a pivotal role in U.S. independence. However, its recent population growth remains slightly negative, hinting at urban to suburban shifts or economic factors at play.

4. New York

New York stands fourth in the population ranking, with roughly half of its over 20 million residents calling New York City home. While its coastline is not as expansive as Florida’s or California’s, it belongs to the category of states with significant coastlines, which often correlates with higher populations.

3. Florida

Claiming the third spot, Florida’s populace exceeds 22.3 million. With an annual growth rate of 1.24%, it’s steadily expanding. Interestingly, Florida is one of the top states with an extensive coastline, a factor that might contribute to its population density.

2. Texas

Texas comes in second in terms of population, housing over 30 million people, making up about 9% of the U.S. population. In contrast to California, Texas showcases an impressive yearly growth rate of 1.34%. Since the beginning of the last decade, Texas has seen its population surge by over a fifth, outpacing California’s growth.

1. California 

Holding the title as the most populous U.S. state, California boasts over 40 million inhabitants, which translates to almost 12% of the nation’s entire population. Remarkably, if considered a separate nation, California’s economy would overshadow that of several countries like Canada or Australia. Its population growth, however, trails behind some other states, registering under 12% since 2010.

Factors Leading to Population Growth in States

🏢 Economic Opportunities: Availability of jobs, thriving industries, and a strong local economy.

🎓 Educational Institutions: Presence of top-tier universities, schools, and research facilities.

🌳 Natural Resources: Access to water, minerals, and fertile land.

🏥 Healthcare Facilities: Advanced medical infrastructure and healthcare services.

🌄 Geographical Appeal: Favorable climate, natural beauty, and recreational areas.

🏡 Affordable Housing: Reasonably priced real estate and living costs.

🚄 Transport Infrastructure: Efficient public transportation, highways, and connectivity.

🕊 Political Stability: Stable governance, low crime rates, and proactive policies.

🌐 Migration Patterns: Influx of immigrants, both domestic and international.

🔬 Technological Advancements: Presence of tech hubs, startups, and innovation centers.

🎭 Cultural and Entertainment Options: Vibrant arts scene, theaters, and festivals.

🌍 Environmental Initiatives: Green policies, clean energy projects, and sustainability efforts.

States by Population: The Wrap-Up

To conclude, from the much-appealing shores of California to the tech-driven hustle of Georgia, population growth in the US shows various trends across different states. 

Sure, economic boons, educational prowess, and those ever-tempting techno-hubs play a hefty role, but who can resist Michigan’s freshwater coastline or the siren call of a Texas BBQ? It’s not only about numbers and technicalities but also about vibes and vision. 

So, whether you’re pondering a move or just here for the population trivia, keep those factors in mind.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top three states by population in the US?

The top three states by population are California, Texas, and Florida. Interestingly, New York, which is home to the most populous city, New York City, comes in fourth.

How does the Census Bureau gather population estimates?

The Census Bureau gathers population estimates using data from previous censuses, birth and death certificates, and immigration records, ensuring accurate yearly updates on each state's population.

Which is the most densely populated state?

Based on population density per square mile, New Jersey is often considered the most densely populated state. However, if we consider the District of Columbia, it has an even higher density, but it's not a state.

How does population density differ between the District of Columbia and states?

The District of Columbia has a population density that's much higher than most states, given its status as the nation's capital city and its smaller land area. Its density is calculated per square mile, like states.

How often does the census bureau release new population estimates?

The census bureau releases new population estimates annually, detailing the resident population for each state, reflecting the latest population trends.

How is the population density of a state calculated?

Population density is calculated by dividing the total population of a state by its land area. This value is often expressed per square mile or per square kilometer.

Why does New York, being home to the most populous city, not rank as the most populated state?

While New York houses the most populous city, its overall state population is surpassed by California and Texas. Remember, state populations account for the entire state, not just populous cities.

How does United States rank in the world in terms of population?

The United States is the third most populous country after China and India.

Are state capitals always the most populous city in the state?

No, state capitals aren't always the most populous city. For instance, Albany is the state capital of New York, but New York City is the most populous.

What role does population density play in determining the most densely populated states?

Population density, calculated as residents per square mile or per square kilometer, is a crucial metric in determining densely populated states. A state can have a high total population but low density if it's geographically large.

Does the census bureau consider the District of Columbia in its state populations count?

The census bureau treats the District of Columbia uniquely, providing separate estimates as it's not considered one of the 50 states.

Why is understanding state populations and population trends important?

Grasping population trends and state populations helps in policymaking, resource allocation, and understanding demographic shifts. Plus, knowing densely populated states can provide insights into economic and social patterns.

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