People and Places | The Perryman Group

People and Places

By: Dr. M. Ray Perryman
Published in syndication January 17, 2024

New population estimates have been released, and once again Texas gained far more residents than any other state. The US population increased by a little more than 1.6 million people during the 12 months ending in July 2023. That's a rise of just 0.5%, but it's better than the 0.4% increase in 2022 or 2021's 0.2% gain. Migration was up, and there was a drop in deaths (though they remain well above pre-COVID levels).

About 87% of the increase was concentrated in the South. More than 706,000 people were added to the region due to net domestic migration, with almost 500,000 from net international migration.

The increase in Texas was 473,453 (about 1,300 people per day), followed by Florida (up 365,205). South Carolina and Florida were the two fastest-growing states in percentage terms, increasing by 1.7% and 1.6%, respectively. The Texas pace was just slightly under 1.6%.

Eight states saw their population fall in 2023 including California (-75,423), Hawaii (-4,261), Illinois (-32,826), Louisiana (-14,274), New York (-101,984), Oregon (-6,021), Pennsylvania (-10,408), and West Virginia (-3,964). Many of these states have lost residents annually since 2020, though the declines have slowed.

More states experienced population growth in 2023 than in any year since the start of the pandemic (42 plus the District of Columbia). In 2022, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia accounted for 93% of the nation's population growth. Even with more states experiencing increases, those four still comprised 67% of the 2023 US gain. Amazingly, almost 30% of the expansion in the entire country occurred in Texas.

A key reason for the continued growth in Texas is the dynamic and diverse economy and the resulting job opportunities. The state has achieved more major corporate locations and expansions than any other every year for more than a decade, and we are seeing growth in both long-time core industries and rapidly emerging sectors. The influx of workers from elsewhere, in turn, enables more robust economic expansion.

In addition, many of the states that people are exiting exhibit much higher living costs and taxes. Nerd Wallet's analysis indicates that a $50,000 salary in Dallas is equivalent to almost $74,000 in Los Angeles or $118,000 in Manhattan.

The flip side of the Lone Star State's continued rapid population growth is that it requires significant and ongoing investments in education and infrastructure to avoid eroding our quality of life and to assure that the economic engine is sustainable. From reliable power generation and the grid to roadways to broadband to public schools, it is imperative that appropriate enhancements are implemented lest we face major issues down the road. Fortunately, a healthy economy also provides the needed resources to fund these essential items. Stay safe!