Wednesday, December 21, 2016

North Dakota's Reversal of Fortune

North Dakota is experiencing a reversal of fortune. It had been the nation's fastest growing state thanks to the oil boom. Between 2010 and 2015, its population grew 12.2 percent, far outpacing other fast-growing states such as Texas (8.7 percent), Nevada (6.7 percent), and Utah (7.8 percent). But between 2015 and 2016, North Dakota's population came to a screeching halt. Well, almost. The state registered a minuscule 0.1 percent population gain as falling oil prices turned its net domestic migration from a plus to a minus—North Dakota lost 6,259 residents to other states.

North Dakota is not alone in losing the domestic migration sweepstakes. Most (31) states lost more domestic migrants than they gained between 2015 and 2016. The five biggest losers were New York, Illinois, Connecticut, North Dakota, and New Jersey. At the other extreme, the five biggest winners were Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Florida, and South Carolina.

Utah had the 10th highest rate of net domestic migration, but that's not the only reason it became the fastest-growing state in 2015-16. Another reason is Utah's high rate of natural increase (births minus deaths), triple the national average.

Fastest growing states, July 2015 to July 2016 (percent increase)
Utah: 2.03
Nevada: 1.95
Idaho: 1.83
Florida: 1.82
Washington: 1.78
Oregon: 1.71
Colorado: 1.68
Arizona: 1.66
District of Columbia: 1.61
Texas: 1.58

Source: Census Bureau, Population Estimates

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