U.S. population grows at slowest rate since 1940s

Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:30pm EST
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By Chip Barnet

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The population of the United States is growing at its slowest rate in more than 70 years, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Wednesday.

The country's population increased by an estimated 2.8 million to 311.6 million from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011. The growth rate of 0.92 percent was the lowest since the mid-1940s.

"The nation's overall growth rate is now at its lowest point since before the Baby Boom," Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said in a statement.

Texas gained more people than any other state in the 15-month period, at 529,000, followed by California at 438,000, Florida at 256,000, Georgia at 128,000, and North Carolina at 121,000, according to the latest Census estimates.

These five states accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population growth, the bureau said.

The only three states to lose population in the period were Rhode Island, down 1,300 or -0.12 percent; Michigan, down 7,400, or -0.08 percent; and Maine, down 200, or -0.01 percent.

California remained the most populous state, with population of 37.7 million. Rounding out the top five most populous states were Texas with 25.7 million people, New York with 19.5 million, Florida with 19.1 million, and Illinois with 12.9 million.

The District of Columbia experienced the fastest growth rate, at 2.7 percent, in the period. Following D.C. in terms of percentage increase were Texas at 2.1 percent, Utah at 1.9 percent, Alaska at 1.8 percent, Colorado at 1.7 percent and North Dakota at 1.7 percent.   Continued...

<p>Stephanie Sanchez, a 25-year-old mother of two, holds her daughter Makenzie for the first time since giving birth at 10:25am at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York October 31, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>