Eight states lost population between 2015 and 2016, and 12 others recorded their lowest population increase of the decade, as economic woes and lower birth rates hit some states harder than others.
Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming lost population. The last time so many states registered a drop in population was from 1986 to 1987, when oil prices collapsed. Twelve Western and Southern states, along with the District of Columbia, lost population then.
Meanwhile, Alabama, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Virginia saw anemic growth of between 0.02 and 0.66 percent in the number of people living inside their borders. That’s less than the nation’s increase in population of 0.7 percent and the lowest growth those states had experienced since 2010.
The reasons behind the declines vary. Some reflect national mortality and birth trends, as more deaths occur as the population ages and the millennial generation has fewer babies. That has led to the slowest population growth in the U.S. in 70 years, as Brookings Institution demographer William Frey points out.