Where It’s Hot and Where It’s Not: 2012 State Population Growth

The U.S. Census Bureau has just released their annual estimates on population growth from 2011 to 2012 for the U.S. and respective States. And the big winner? North Dakota. Just like the California Gold rush of 1848 and the original oil gusher rush at Spindletop, Texas oil boom of 1901, North Dakota’s Bakken formation, rich in oil, is making the state’s locales the latest rush towns of the 21st Century.

The top-10 states in population growth percentage and net population growth numbers are included in the following two tables. Only two states, Rhode Island and Vermont posted population declines from 2011 to 2012, as did Puerto Rico.










To compare your state’s performance (and Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia), the following table shows respective changes and relative ranks.



































Economics and Population Growth

Population growth takes place for one of two reasons. The first is demographic, i.e. child bearing ages, seniors and ethnicity (which impacts number of children and life expectancy). The second is essentially economic, which relates to jobs either attracting people into the state or causing people to leave seeking employment opportunities elsewhere.

We would expect those states with strong job growth to have more robust population increase. To test that hypothesis, the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient was calculated for net population growth versus net job growth. For all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, the Correlation Coefficient was calculated, with a resulting coefficient of 0.853478, which when squared equals 0.728426. That means that by knowing the respective state’s 2011 to 2012 job growth rates, you can explain 72.8 percent of the respective change in each state’s population for the same period. If you add in Puerto Rico, the respective correlation coefficient rises ever-so-slightly to 0.855046. Thus, almost three-fourths of the population growth from 2011 to 2012 can be explained by jobs.

Folks, it’s all about jobs.

To read the entire Census Bureau press release, click here.


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