(January 2007) The Census Bureau released state population estimates for July 2006 that show a continuing loss of people from the Northeast and Midwest, and gains in the West and South. One symbol of that change: North Carolina has replaced New Jersey as the 10th largest state.

Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island lost population from the previous year, with Louisiana estimated to have shed nearly one in 20 residents. In releasing the estimates last month, the Census Bureau announced that Arizona overtook Nevada as the nation’s fastest-growing state, although it also released revised estimates for earlier years indicating that milestone was crossed in 2005. Texas ranked first in its number of new residents.

California had the greatest number of births—more than 560,000—and thus was able to grow even though census estimates indicated the state lost more residents than it gained from immigration and internal migration. West Virginia, on the other hand, had slightly more deaths than births, but its population increased because of a net gain in the number of people moving there from other U.S. communities.

D’Vera Cohn, PRB Senior Editor