Census: Florida fastest-growing state in eastern US

Only 5 smaller, western states grew at faster rate than Sunshine State

(Photo by Famartin/Wikimedia Commons)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida added nearly 400,000 residents between June 30, 2016 and July 1, 2017 -- an increase of nearly 1.8 percent -- according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released this week. That was the largest population increase of any state east of the Mississippi. 

The United States' population reached 325,719,178 during that period, up from 323,405,935, an increase of 0.71 percent. 

Idaho was the nation's fastest-growing state, with a population increase of 2 percent, according to the census data. Nevada, Utah, Washington and Arizona were also among the biggest gainers. Texas added more residents than Florida last year, but the Sunshine State edged out the Lone Star State in the rate of growth.

Eight states lost population. Illinois experienced the largest loss, while Wyoming saw the largest percentage decline. The other states to lose population were North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia.

With 39.5 million residents,  California remains the most populous state, followed by Texas ( 28.3 million), Florida (nearly 21 million) and New York   (19.8 million ).  

While Florida is perceived as a state for senior citizens, the Census Bureau's most recent data shows 19.9 percent of Florida residents were 65 or older, while 20.1 percent were 18 or under.

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