WASHINGTON – Population growth in Southern and Western states, led by Texas, California and Florida, accounted for more than 80 percent of new residents nationwide over the past three years, surpassing the Northeast and Midwest in the demographic contest that plays a key role in determining states’ political clout, census data released Monday show.
If states continue to grow at the same pace for the rest of the decade, Texas could gain three more congressional seats in 2020, according to an analysis of the Census Bureau figures. Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado would stand to gain one seat each, while Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota, West Virginia and Rhode Island would lose a seat each.
North Dakota is the nation’s fastest-growing state, driven by a thriving oil and gas industry. North Dakota’s population stood at 723,393 on July 1, according to the census data, a 3.1 percent increase from 2012. Since the 2010 census, North Dakota’s population has grown 7.6 percent, far outpacing the national rate of 2.4 percent.
The national population stood at 316,128,839 on July 1, an increase of 2.3 million. But the annual growth rate nationally continues to lag behind where it was in the mid-2000s before the economic downturn.