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5 things to know about population growth in your state, the country and the world

This fall, U.S. Census Bureau workers will come to St. Louis to verify, using in part smartphones, the agency's address lists, compiled using a new method. Those lists will help the Bureau conduct the 2020 Census.
U.S. Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau's year-end population estimates show changes in the growth of Missouri and Illinois.

Illinois got smaller. Missouri got bigger (slightly). And western states seem to have a pull on people looking to relocate. That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau's annual population estimates that were released on December 20.


To calculate growth (or shrinkage), the bureau takes into account three factors: Births, deaths and migration (people moving in and people moving out). Illinois took a hit when it comes to people leaving the state: The number births and people moving in could not make up for the 114,000 residents the state lost.

Each year the U.S. Census Bureau estimates what the U.S. and world populations will be on New Year's Day.
Credit U.S. Census Bureau
Each year the U.S. Census Bureau estimates what the U.S. and world populations will be on New Year's Day.

Why are people leaving Illinois? The Chicago Tribune interviewed residents who recently left the state and found a number of reasons, “from high taxes to state budget crises to crime, as well as the cold weather.”

Orphe Divounguy, chief economist with the Illinois Policy Institute told the Tribune that the state is experiencing an “out-migration crisis.” Divounguy blamed property and income taxes as contributing factors.

5 things to know about the population

  1. Illinois is no longer the nation’s fifth most populous state; it was edged out of the spot by Pennsylvania. The Land of Lincoln lost more than 33,000 residents in 2017, dropping to the sixth most populous state in the union with 12,802,023 residents.
  2. Missouri grew by 22,356 people in 2017, making it the nation’s 18th most populous state at 6,113,532.
  3. The projected U.S. population on New Year’s Day is 326,971,407. This represents an increase of 2,314,238, or 0.71 percent.
  4. In January 2018, the United States is expected to experience one birth every eight seconds and one death every 10 seconds.
  5. The combination of births, deaths and net international migration will increase the U.S. population by one person every 18 seconds.

MORE: See how other states stack up

The states seeing the biggest population growth are Idaho (2.2%), Utah (1.9%) and Washington (1.7%). In fact western states make up seven of the 10 states with the greatest growth.

Follow Holly Edgell @HollyEdgell

Holly Edgell is the managing editor of the Midwest Newsroom, a public radio collaboration among NPR member stations in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.