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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.
North Dakota was 37th in percentage growth between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. The data showed its population has reached a record high of 683,932, beating the previous record set more than 80 years ago.
"After years of population decline, it's welcomed news to see that our economic growth over the last decade continues to keep North Dakotans home," Governor Jack Dalrymple said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Nevada, the fastest-growing state between 2000 and 2010, ranked only 27th in growth in the latest report, rising only 0.8 percent.
The 10 Fastest Growing US States from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2011:
State/District Percent Change
1. District of Columbia 2.70
2. Texas 2.10
3. Utah 1.93
4. Alaska 1.76
5. Colorado 1.74
6. North Dakota 1.69
7. Washington 1.57
8. Arizona 1.42
9. Florida 1.36 10. Georgia 1.32