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A Busy Season of Population Estimates

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Note: Join us Thursday, June 28, 2012, for a Twitter chat with our experts looking at What’s Trending on the Nation’s Population since the 2010 Census (#population). More details below.

During the past few months, we have released a flurry of new population estimates. These gave us the first estimates of the population for the nation, states, metro/micro areas and counties since the 2010 Census. We also have new demographic characteristics of the nation, states and counties. These estimates revealed new patterns of population growth and a major demographic milestone.

We have one more set of estimates in the works. On Thursday, we will release subcounty population estimates. What will these new figures show us?

Last December, our first estimates for the nation and states since the 2010 Census were released.  The estimates revealed that the nation’s overall growth rate between Census Day on April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, was at its lowest since the mid-1940s, but there was significant growth in several states.  Texas gained more people than any other state, followed by California, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.  These five states accounted for more than half of the nation’s total population growth.

In April, our first estimates of the total population for counties and metropolitan and micropolitan areas since the 2010 Census showed that several of the 10 counties with the highest rates of growth in the 15 months after the census were located far outside what many would consider the Sun Belt, including one in North Dakota, one in Iowa and one in Washington state. In a development which at first glance may seem counter-intuitive, North Dakota was also home to three of the 50 fastest-growing counties over the period─ two more than Florida.

With respect to metro areas, fewer than half ─ 24 ─ of the 50 fastest-growing areas between 2010 and 2011 were also among the 50 fastest-growing areas between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. Two key examples were Palm Coast, Fla., the fastest-growing area between censuses, which fell to 55th place between 2010 and 2011, and Las Vegas, which dropped from third to 151st. When looking at micro areas, we saw a similar story: six in New Mexico and three in North Dakota were among the 50 fastest-growing areas between the 2010 Census and July 1, 2011, but none of these areas made the top 50 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

Last month, we published the first population estimates by demographic group since the 2010 Census. These numbers showed how each race, Hispanics and selected age groups have changed in population between the 2010 Census and July 1, 2011. They showed that a majority of our population under age one is minority.  That means that more than 50 percent were some group other than the non-Hispanic white alone group. This threshold was crossed at some point between Census Day on April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011, the reference date for these estimates.

As our children are our future, this is a good indication that an already diverse nation should become even more so in the future. The population younger than 5 is just short of majority-minority status, while the population overall stands at 36.6 percent minority, up from 36.1 percent in 2010.

On June 14, we published housing unit estimates for states and counties.  The estimates revealed that, between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, the number of housing units in the nation increased by 608,000 (0.5 percent). Wyoming, Alaska and Utah were the fastest-growing states in terms of housing units, each increasing by 1.4 percent during this time.

This week, we will publish our last major round of 2011 population estimates, which will provide totals for incorporated cities and towns and minor civil divisions, such as townships. These will no doubt provide additional information about how much our nation has changed in the relatively short time since the 2010 Census was conducted.

Population estimates provide insights into how communities throughout the country have grown and changed. Do you have questions for our experts about these estimates? Mark your calendars: on June 28, at 1 p.m. EDT, we will conduct a tweet chat, in which we will discuss the trends revealed by each set of population estimates published this year. Your questions are welcome, so plan to participate! Use #population to follow the chat.

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