Posted by on December 21, 2016 12:40 am
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Categories: Ageing Brookings Institution Bureau of the Census Census Bureau Cornell University Demographic economics Demographics Demography Economy Florida Great Depression Human geography Illinois Midwest new economy New York State Population Population ageing Recession recovery Slowdown Social Issues Tribune unemployment University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Uptick rule West Virginia

According to data released by the US Census, in 2016 the U.S. population grew at the lowest rate since the Great Depression, while the state of New York shrank for the first time in a decade. The biggest loser, again, was Illinois which shrank for a third consecutive year, losing 38,000 people, mostly from the Chicago area.

The overall slowdown was due to uptick in deaths, a slowdown in births and a fractional drop in immigration, all of which damped American population growth for the year ended July 1. The 0.7% increase, to 323.1 million, was the smallest on record since 1936-37, according to William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

New York State, whose loss of 1,900 people put its population at 19.7 million, is shrinking because residents are leaving for other states. It has an aging population that is retiring in warmer places such as Florida, or staying put and dying, as the WSJ put it. “As a state that has more people leaving than going [in], that is not a good thing,” said Jan Vink, a researcher at Cornell University’s program on applied demographics. “People claim it’s about the taxes, it’s about the weather. There are many reasons.”

It’s not just New York which saw a modest exodus: the figures showed Americans continue to leave the North for Western states, with Utah, Nevada, Idaho and several others in that region topping the country in percentage growth.  About 593,000 people left the Northeast and Midwest to move to the South and West this year, slightly more than during the prior one-year period, as the retiring cohort gets bigger.

However, the biggest state loser in population terms by a big margin was Illinois, which lost more residents in 2016 than any other state, losing 37,508 people, which puts its population at the lowest its been in at least a decade. This year marks the third consecutive year in which Illinois is among the few states to lose residents, putting its population at 12,801,539 people. Illinois had only the second-greatest decline rate in 2016, however, as even with the population drop it continues to be the fifth-most populous state. West Virginia had the greatest decline rate this year.

Illinois’ population first began to drop in 2014, when the state lost 7,391 people. That number more than tripled in 2015, with a loss of 22,194 people, and further multiplied in 2016. The plunge is mainly a result of the large number of residents leaving the state in the past year — about 114,144 in all — which couldn’t be offset by new residents and births, according to census data measuring population from July 2015 to July 2016.

Making matters worse for the state’s various semi-solvent pension plans which are dependent , by almost every metric Illinois’ population will continue to sharply decline in the coming years as more residents call it quits on the state they call home according to the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune last year surveyed dozens of former residents who had fled within the past five years, and all offered their own list of reasons for doing so. Common reasons included high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate and the weather.

Census data released last year suggested the root of the problem was the Chicago area, which in 2015 saw its first population decline since at least 1990, having lost 6,263 residents. A simple cause for that could be that, as reported earlier, Chicago’s surging murder rates are single-handedly driving up the overall national average, which in turn is forcing much of the local population to flee.

In addition to Illinois and New York, a total of eight states saw population outflows this year, including West Virginia, Connecticut, Vermont, Wyoming and Mississippi.

And then there are the winners, chief among which was Utah, the fastest-growing state this year with a 2% gain, added nearly 61,000 people to lift its population to 3.1 million. Gains in technology and other jobs have led to tighter labor markets, housing shortages and rising school enrollment, said Pamela Perlich, director of demographic research at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

“There is a new economy being created out of the carnage of the Great Recession, and in a lot of those new growth areas, Utah seems to be at the forefront,” Ms. Perlich said. “You roll back 40 years ago, and we were really pretty isolated and much more parochial here.”

Another big gainer was Texas, whose addition of about 433,000 people accounted for 19% of the country’s growth. The state, with 27.9 million people, grew from a relatively strong flow of immigrants and people relocating there from other states.

North Dakota, a fast grower in recent years, saw its population barely edge up this year as the state struggles with a slowdown in its oil industry. Among factors weighing on overall population growth is that the number of babies women are having—which plummeted in the 2007-09 recession—hasn’t picked up as much as demographers had expected during the recovery. The mortality rate for Americans is also creeping up, in part due to stalled progress in preventing people from dying of heart disease.

The Census Bureau revised downward its estimates of immigration for each year since 2010 by an average of 10%. For this year, it estimated that 999,000 immigrants arrived, down 4% from the prior year.

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