Idaho’s annual population growth from 2020 to 2021 at 2.9% led the other 49 states and Washington, D.C., in percent increase for the fifth consecutive year. The state gained 53,151 new residents – the ninth largest numeric change in the nation – for a new population estimate of 1.9 million, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released this week.
Idaho’s neighboring states of Utah and Montana ranked second and third respectively, each growing by 1.7%.
Domestic migration, or people moving from other states, was the primary driving component of Idaho’s population growth.
The U.S. population grew by 0.1%, the slowest growth since the nation’s founding, adding just 392,665 people. The slower-than-average growth was attributed to a combination of decreased net international migration, decreased fertility and increased mortality due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The growth of Idaho and its neighbors was counter to the West’s trend, which gained a smaller boost of 35,868 residents in the 13-state area. Losses from negative net domestic migration at -144,941 was primarily due to out-migration from California and New Mexico, offsetting gains in other states in the region. Natural increases of 143,082 and net international migration of 38,347 comprised the positive gains. The South was the only region to report net positive domestic migration for its 16-state area that includes Texas and Florida.
The trend away from large urban areas impacted some of the largest states including California, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois as together they lost almost three-quarters of a million people. Although the ranking of the largest states did not change from 2020 to 2021, Texas and Florida were the only two states in the top six that gained population — more than half a million in aggregate.
The full release report can be found here: New Vintage 2021 Population Estimates Available for the Nation, States and Puerto Rico (census.gov)