US population growth slowed overall last decade, despite significant growth in large metro areas, new 2020 Census data presented Thursday show.
Almost all of the nation’s population growth was in its cities, according to the Census Bureau. More than half of all counties saw their population decline since 2010. Most of the growth was driven by the South and West, while the Midwest and Northeast trailed behind.
“Population growth this decade was almost entirely in metro areas,” said Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the US Census Bureau. “Texas is a good example of this, where parts of the Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas Fort Worth, Midland and Odessa metro areas had population growth, whereas many of the state’s other counties had population declines.”
Cities have grown faster than the nation as a whole.
- Population in metro areas grew by 8.7% since 2010.
- The US population grew from roughly 308.7 million in 2010 to 331.4 million, a 7.35% increase.
That's the slowest population growth since 1930-1940 — the decade of the Great Depression.
Perry also said that across the country, small counties bled population to large counties.
“Population decline is even more widespread this decade, with 52% of all counties having smaller populations in 2020 than in 2010,” Perry said. “Metro areas are even more prominent this decade as the locations of population growth amidst otherwise widespread population decline.”
Perry said that “most counties lost population between 2010 and 2020,” and “on average, smaller counties tended to lose population, and more populous counties tended to grow.”
“Population growth this decade was almost entirely in metro areas. Metro areas grew by 8.7%, and micro-areas grew by 0.8%. Population in territory not in a metro or micro area declined by 2.8%. All 10 of the country’s most populous cities grew this decade,” Perry said.