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More Counties Saw Population Gains in 2023

MARCH 14, 2024 – More U.S. counties experienced population gains than losses in 2023, as counties in the South saw faster growth and more Northeast and Midwest counties had population losses turn to gains, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2023 estimates of population and components of change released today.

Approximately 60% (1,876) of U.S. counties gained population from 2022 to 2023, an increase from the 52% of counties (1,649) that experienced population growth between 2021 and 2022. Among the nation’s 3,144 counties, the average change from 2022 to 2023 was 0.29%, up from 0.17% the previous year.

Percent Change in County Population: July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023

“Domestic migration patterns are changing, and the impact on counties is especially evident,” said Lauren Bowers, chief of the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Branch. “Areas which experienced high levels of domestic out-migration during the pandemic, such as in the Midwest and Northeast, are now seeing more counties with population growth. Meanwhile, county population growth is slowing down out west, such as in Arizona and Idaho.”

This was the first time since 2020 that more counties in the Midwest had population gains (542) than losses (513), narrowing the average annual change among the region’s 1,055 counties to a loss of 0.02% from a loss of 0.09% a year earlier.

While the Northeast still had more counties losing (113) than gaining (105) population in 2023, population loss among its counties moderated compared to the previous year. The average annual change among the region’s 218 counties slowed from -0.24% to -0.07% in 2023. The number of counties with population increases rose from 83 in 2022 to 105 in 2023.

On average, counties in the South experienced faster growth in 2023 than in 2022. Among its 1,422 counties, the average annual change was 0.56%, up from 0.31% the prior year. Approximately 67% (950) of the counties in the region experienced population gains in 2023, up from 59% (836) in 2022.

The West, whose average population change ranked highest among the four regions in 2022, fell behind the South in 2023. The average annual change among the region’s 449 counties slowed from 0.51% to 0.34%.

Population Change in Counties by Region
Region Number of Counties 2021-2022 2022-2023
Gain Loss Average
Percent Change
Gain Loss Average
Percent Change
Northeast 218 83 135 -0.24% 105 113 -0.07%
Midwest 1,055 454 601 -0.09% 542 513 -0.02%
South 1,422 836 586 0.31% 950 472 0.56%
West 449 276 173 0.51% 279 170 0.34%
All U.S. Counties 3,144 1,649 1,495 0.17% 1,876 1,268 0.29%

 

Note: The small number of counties that experienced no population change are categorized as having a population gain. From 2021 to 2022, nine counties had no change: four in the Midwest, three in the South, and two in the West. From 2022 to 2023, 12 counties had no change: four in Midwest, five in the South, and three in the West.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

On average, large and moderate-sized counties grew while small counties got smaller. Among the 618 counties with populations over 100,000, the average change from 2022 to 2023 was 0.76%. Moderate-sized counties with populations between 10,000 and 100,000 grew 0.36% on average. Conversely, among the 741 smallest counties in the nation, those with populations below 10,000, the average annual decrease was 0.27% in 2023 compared to 0.35% the previous year.

Components of Change

Domestic Migration

Sixty-two percent of counties, up from 60% in 2022, experienced positive net domestic migration in 2023. In addition, net domestic migration generally moderated among some of the counties with the largest amounts of net domestic in-migration and out-migration in 2022. The 10 counties with the largest net domestic in-migration were mostly in the South. In contrast, the top 10 counties with largest net domestic out-migration were mostly in large metro areas, with some experiencing considerably less net domestic out-migration in 2023 than in 2022.

Counties With the Highest Levels of Net Domestic Migration in 2023
Top 10 Counties
with Positive Net Domestic Migration in 2023
2022 2023 Top 10 Counties
with Negative Net Domestic Migration in 2023
2022 2023
Polk County, Florida 29,606 26,029 Los Angeles County, California -143,724 -119,037
Montgomery County, Texas 22,770 25,501 Cook County, Illinois -94,927 -58,105
Pasco County, Florida 24,283 23,750 Kings County, New York -78,188 -55,308
Collin County, Texas 29,755 20,749 Queens County, New York -77,029 -50,161
Denton County, Texas 23,657 19,262 Miami-Dade County, Florida -38,132 -47,597
Williamson County, Texas 20,520 17,943 Bronx County, New York -61,394 -41,473
Pinal County, Arizona 14,075 17,463 Orange County, California -27,681 -35,597
Fort Bend County, Texas 17,796 15,757 Dallas County, Texas -18,985 -34,330
Marion County, Florida 13,409 15,167 San Diego County, California -15,956 -30,745
Horry County, South Carolina 17,294 15,061 Santa Clara County, California -33,302 -29,077

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

The number of counties with positive net domestic migration increased in all regions except the West, where 253 counties experienced positive domestic migration in 2023, down from 275 counties in 2022. The Northeast saw the largest increase in the share of counties with positive domestic migration from 44% in 2022 to 52% in 2023. The number of southern counties with positive rates of domestic migration increased from 957 in 2022 to 1,014 in 2023, while the number of those counties in the Midwest increased from 561 to 581.

International Migration

Eighty percent (2,515) of U.S. counties had positive net international migration in 2023. Miami-Dade County, Florida (54,457), and Harris County, Texas (41,665), had the largest gains from net international migration. All counties in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island experienced positive net international migration.

Natural Change

As the nation’s death rate declined in 2023, so did the frequency of natural decrease. Deaths outnumbered births in fewer counties: 2,171 or 69% experienced natural decrease, down from 2,337 (74.3%) in 2022.

Just over 70% of counties in the Northeast, South and Midwest regions had natural decrease. The West was the region with the lowest share, 241 (53.7%) of its 449 counties experiencing natural decrease in 2023.

Maine was the only state where all counties experienced natural decrease. Other states where a majority of counties had natural decrease were Alabama (55 of 67); Arkansas (66 of 75); Illinois (86 of 102); Kentucky (100 of 120); Michigan (73 of 83); Ohio (71 of 88); Pennsylvania (57 of 67); and Tennessee (82 of 95).

Five Florida counties led the nation in natural decrease: Pinellas (4,945); Sarasota (3,399); Brevard (3,044); Volusia (3,003); and Marion (2,480).

Births outnumbered deaths in 961 counties (31%) in 2023, led by Alaska (with 25 of 30 counties) and New Jersey (with 17 of 21).

Nationally, the counties with the highest levels of natural increase in 2023 were Harris County, Texas (34,695); Los Angeles County, California (22,216); Dallas County, Texas (19,550); Kings County, New York (14,174); and Tarrant County, Texas (13,010).

More County Highlights

Population Change

Approximately 96% of Florida’s 67 counties grew (and only three counties lost population) from 2022 to 2023. Other states, where a large majority of counties grew, included Idaho, where 95.5% or 42 of its 44 counties gained residents, and Tennessee, where 94.7% or 90 of its 95 counties gained residents.

Fastest Growing

Among counties with a population of 20,000 or more, the 10 fastest-growing were in the South—six in Texas (Kaufman, 7.6%; Rockwall, 6.5%; Liberty, 5.7%; Chambers, 5.0%; Comal, 5.0%; Ellis, 4.9%); two in Georgia (Jackson, 5.5%; Dawson, 5.1%); and one each in South Carolina (Jasper, 4.9%) and Virginia (New Kent, 4.7%).

Fastest Declining

Of the counties with populations above 20,000, Lassen County, California, experienced the biggest (3.9%) decrease in 2023. Randolph County, Missouri, followed with a loss of 2.1%. Population in Bronx County, New York, continued to decline, dropping by 1.8% in 2023 after dropping 3.0% in 2022 and 2.5% in 2021.

Largest Gaining

Eight of the 10 counties that led the nation by numeric change in 2023 were in Texas. This included Harris County, which added 53,788 residents and was the largest-gaining county in the nation, followed by Collin County (36,364) and Montgomery County (31,800).

Maricopa County, Arizona, the largest-gaining county in the nation in 2022, dropped to fourth in 2023 with a gain of just over 30,000 residents. Polk County, Florida, ranked fifth after adding 29,948 residents.

The remaining top five population gainers were all in Texas: Denton (29,943); Fort Bend (27,859); Bexar (27,488); Tarrant (27,301); and Williamson (24,918). Denton County gained nearly 30,000 new residents, pushing its population to just over 1 million and making it the seventh Texas county to reach this milestone.

Largest Declining

Los Angeles County, California, had the highest numeric population decline of 56,420 in 2023, compared to a loss of 89,697 people in 2022. Both drops stemmed from negative domestic migration. Kings, Queens, and Bronx counties in New York followed with population losses of 28,306; 26,362; and 25,332, respectively.

Among other large declines were Cook County, Illinois, which lost 24,494 people; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (-16,294); and Orange County, California (-14,617).

Refer to the bottom of the release for tables highlighting the top 10 most populous counties and top 10 counties for numeric growth and decline, as well as the fasting growing and declining.

Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Approximately 73% of the nation’s 387 metro areas experienced population growth between 2022 and 2023. A smaller percentage of U.S. micro areas experienced population growth over the same period, with approximately 58% (314 out of 538) U.S. micro areas seeing gains in population.

Metro Areas

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ (19,498,249); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (12,799,100); and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN (9,262,825) were the three most populous U.S. metro areas in 2023.

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX metro area surpassed 8 million residents between 2022 and 2023, adding 152,598 residents for a total population of 8,100,037. This was the largest numeric population increase of any U.S. metro area between 2022 and 2023, followed by Houston-Pasadena-The Woodlands, TX, which added 139,789 over the same period, bringing its total population to 7,510,253.

Other metro areas that experienced notable population gains between 2022 and 2023 included Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA (68,585); Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL (54,916); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (51,622); Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC (50,458); and Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX (50,105).

Florida had four of the five fastest-growing U.S. metro areas between 2022 and 2023: Wildwood-The Villages, FL (4.7%); Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL (3.8%); Ocala, FL (3.4%); and Port St. Lucie, FL (3.1%). Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC, ranked 3rd (3.7%).

Micro Areas

Seaford, DE, had the largest U.S. micro area gain in population, adding 7,062 between 2022 and 2023, followed by Jefferson, GA, which added 4,606 over the same period.

The five fastest-growing U.S. micro areas between 2022 and 2023 were Jefferson, GA (5.5%); Clewiston, FL (4.2%); Lewisburg, TN (3.1%); Williston, ND (3.0%); and Athens, OH (3.0%).

Refer to the bottom of the release for tables highlighting the top 10 metro and micro areas for numeric growth, as well as the fasting growing.

Puerto Rico Municipios

While Puerto Rico’s total population declined, 13 of its 78 municipios experienced growth in 2023; none did in 2022.

Rincón Municipio, population 15,425, was the fastest-growing and largest-gaining municipio in 2023, adding 118 people with an annual growth rate of 0.8%. It was followed by Barranquitas Municipio, which gained 101 residents (0.3%) bringing its population to 29,020.

San Juan, the most populous municipio, lost 1,582 residents – largely due to natural decrease – bringing its population down to 333,005.

Deaths outnumbered births in all municipios in 2023. Natural decrease was greatest in San Juan (1,824), followed by Bayamón (1,055) and Ponce (813).

Forty-six municipios (59.0%) had positive net migration in 2023. Guaynabo (495), Bayamón (389) and Isabela (305) had the largest net migration gains. Ponce (1,050), Toa Baja (375) and Guayama (289) had the largest net migration losses.

Technical Notes

This release includes some updates from the 2020 Census Count Question Resolution Operation (CQR) and 2020 Post-Census Group Quarters Review Program (PCGQR) which have been incorporated into the April 1, 2020, estimates base. Changes to demographic characteristics resulting from PCGQR will be incorporated into subsequent vintages of estimates. CQR errata tables with original and corrected housing and population counts are available on the 2020 Decennial Census Notes and Errata webpage. Cities and towns can expect to start seeing some 2020 PCGQR updates in the Vintage 2023 Population Estimates scheduled for release in May 2024. All updates from the 2020 PCGQR are expected to be incorporated by the Vintage 2024 Population Estimates to be released starting December 2024. The full release schedule for the Population Estimates Program can be found on the Census Bureau’s website.

In June, the Census Bureau is scheduled to release estimates of the July 1, 2023, population by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin for the nation, states, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, and counties, and population by age and sex for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico municipios. The data will be embargoed.

With each new release of annual estimates, the entire time series of estimates is revised for all years back to the date of the last census. All previously published estimates (e.g., old vintages) are superseded and archived on the FTP2 site.

Tables

Table 1
Top 10 Most Populous Counties: July 1, 2023
Rank State County April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023
1 California Los Angeles County 10,013,976 9,719,765 9,663,345
2 Illinois Cook County 5,275,555 5,111,566 5,087,072
3 Texas Harris County 4,731,122 4,781,337 4,835,125
4 Arizona Maricopa County 4,425,102 4,555,833 4,585,871
5 California San Diego County 3,298,648 3,277,176 3,269,973
6 California Orange County 3,186,997 3,150,372 3,135,755
7 Florida Miami-Dade County 2,701,776 2,673,056 2,686,867
8 Texas Dallas County 2,611,481 2,601,993 2,606,358
9 New York Kings County 2,736,119 2,589,531 2,561,225
10 California Riverside County 2,418,182 2,474,241 2,492,442

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

Table 2
Top 10 Counties in Annual Numeric Growth: July 1, to July 1, 2023
Rank State County April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023 Numeric Growth
1 Texas Harris County 4,731,122 4,781,337 4,835,125 53,788
2 Texas Collin County 1,066,467 1,158,995 1,195,359 36,364
3 Texas Montgomery County 620,460 679,554 711,354 31,800
4 Arizona Maricopa County 4,425,102 4,555,833 4,585,871 30,038
5 Florida Polk County 725,048 788,382 818,330 29,948
6 Texas Denton County 906,419 977,760 1,007,703 29,943
7 Texas Fort Bend County 822,797 888,919 916,778 27,859
8 Texas Bexar County 2,009,316 2,060,191 2,087,679 27,488
9 Texas Tarrant County 2,110,623 2,155,646 2,182,947 27,301
10 Texas Williamson County 609,006 672,273 697,191 24,918

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

Table 3
Top 10 Counties in Annual Percent Growth: July 1, to July 1, 2023
Resident Population of 20,000 or more in 2022 and 2023
Rank State County April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023 Percent Growth
1 Texas Kaufman County 145,307 172,611 185,690 7.6%
2 Texas Rockwall County 107,844 123,342 131,307 6.5%
3 Texas Liberty County 91,631 102,462 108,272 5.7%
4 Georgia Jackson County 75,912 84,009 88,615 5.5%
5 Georgia Dawson County 26,796 30,189 31,732 5.1%
6 Texas Chambers County 46,562 51,309 53,876 5.0%
7 Texas Comal County 161,493 184,749 193,928 5.0%
8 Texas Ellis County 192,445 212,323 222,829 4.9%
9 South Carolina Jasper County 28,810 31,986 33,544 4.9%
10 Virginia New Kent County 22,944 24,952 26,134 4.7%

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

Table 4
Top 10 Counties in Annual Numeric Decline: July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2023
Rank State County April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023 Numeric Decline
1 California Los Angeles County 10,013,976 9,719,765 9,663,345 -56,420
2 New York Kings County 2,736,119 2,589,531 2,561,225 -28,306
3 New York Queens County 2,405,425 2,278,558 2,252,196 -26,362
4 New York Bronx County 1,472,653 1,381,808 1,356,476 -25,332
5 Illinois Cook County 5,275,555 5,111,566 5,087,072 -24,494
6 Pennsylvania Philadelphia County 1,603,793 1,566,836 1,550,542 -16,294
7 California Orange County 3,186,997 3,150,372 3,135,755 -14,617
8 Pennsylvania Allegheny County 1,250,536 1,232,605 1,224,825 -7,780
9 Michigan Wayne County 1,793,914 1,758,942 1,751,169 -7,773
10 California San Diego County 3,298,648 3,277,176 3,269,973 -7,203

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

Table 5
Top 10 Counties in Annual Percent Decline: July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2023
Resident Population of 20,000 or more in 2022 and 2023
Rank State County April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023 Percent Decline
1 California Lassen County 32,733 30,020 28,861 -3.9%
2 Missouri Randolph County 24,707 24,626 24,109 -2.1%
3 California Siskiyou County 44,077 43,786 42,905 -2.0%
4 Kentucky Letcher County 21,550 20,827 20,423 -1.9%
5 California Del Norte County 27,745 27,112 26,589 -1.9%
6 West Virginia Mingo County 23,573 22,445 22,023 -1.9%
7 Louisiana Morehouse Parish 25,638 24,414 23,955 -1.9%
8 New York Bronx County 1,472,653 1,381,808 1,356,476 -1.8%
9 Mississippi Bolivar County 30,980 29,461 28,968 -1.7%
10 New Mexico McKinley County 72,904 69,931 68,797 -1.6%

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

Table 6
Top 10 U.S. Micro Areas in Annual Numeric Growth:
July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2023
Rank Micro Area April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023 Numeric Growth
1 Seaford, DE 237,375 256,447 263,509 7,062
2 Jefferson, GA 75,912 84,009 88,615 4,606
3 Anderson Creek, NC 133,571 138,478 141,477 2,999
4 Cookeville, TN 141,333 145,478 148,226 2,748
5 Clewiston, FL 51,749 53,854 56,119 2,265
6 Athens, OH 62,437 60,881 62,706 1,825
7 Kalispell, MT 104,354 111,885 113,679 1,794
8 Cedar City, UT 57,286 62,508 64,211 1,703
9 New Bern, NC 122,166 122,540 124,215 1,675
10 Athens, TX 82,147 84,490 86,158 1,668

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

Table 7
Top 10 U.S. Micro Areas in Annual Percent Growth:
July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2023
Rank Micro Area April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023 Percent Growth
1 Jefferson, GA 75,912 84,009 88,615 5.5%
2 Clewiston, FL 51,749 53,854 56,119 4.2%
3 Lewisburg, TN 34,327 35,857 36,961 3.1%
4 Williston, ND 40,945 37,966 39,113 3.0%
5 Athens, OH 62,437 60,881 62,706 3.0%
6 Spearfish, SD 25,771 27,240 28,053 3.0%
7 Seaford, DE 237,375 256,447 263,509 2.8%
8 Cedar City, UT 57,286 62,508 64,211 2.7%
9 Cornelia, GA 46,034 47,465 48,757 2.7%
10 Okeechobee, FL 39,642 40,373 41,427 2.6%

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

Table 8
Top 10 U.S. Metro Areas in Annual Numeric Growth:
July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2023
Rank Metro Area April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023 Numeric Growth
1 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 7,637,398 7,947,439 8,100,037 152,598
2 Houston-Pasadena-The Woodlands, TX 7,149,604 7,370,464 7,510,253 139,789
3 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 6,106,847 6,238,676 6,307,261 68,585
4 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 2,673,391 2,763,017 2,817,933 54,916
5 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 3,175,291 3,291,341 3,342,963 51,622
6 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 2,660,348 2,754,657 2,805,115 50,458
7 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 2,283,379 2,423,170 2,473,275 50,105
8 Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 4,851,102 5,020,870 5,070,110 49,240
9 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 2,558,115 2,655,928 2,703,999 48,071
10 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 6,138,356 6,139,812 6,183,199 43,387

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

Table 9
Top 10 U.S. Metro Areas in Annual Percent Growth:
July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2023
Rank Metro Area April 1, 2020
(Estimates Base)
July 1, 2022 July 1, 2023 Percent Growth
1 Wildwood-The Villages, FL 129,745 144,767 151,565 4.7%
2 Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 725,048 788,382 818,330 3.8%
3 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC 351,032 383,147 397,478 3.7%
4 Ocala, FL 375,904 396,437 409,959 3.4%
5 Port St. Lucie, FL 487,660 520,873 536,901 3.1%
6 Hinesville, GA 81,429 86,314 88,804 2.9%
7 Midland, TX 175,224 177,247 182,324 2.9%
8 Spartanburg, SC 355,232 372,687 383,327 2.9%
9 Wilmington, NC 422,601 454,390 467,337 2.8%
10 Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL 231,768 246,531 253,507 2.8%

 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Vintage 2023 Population Estimates.

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Kristina Barrett
Public Information Office
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