New York sees population decline amidst overall U.S. growth in 2023


Majority of reporting by Mike Schneider of Associated Press |

Immigration took center stage in driving population gains in the United States for a second consecutive year, resulting in an upswing in the nation’s growth rate in 2023, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau released on Tuesday.

New York, despite being a historical and cultural hub, faced the largest rate of population decline among the 50 states, experiencing a 0.5% decrease. The state lost nearly 102,000 residents, a smaller decline compared to the previous year’s drop of 180,000 people. Although New York saw the arrival of almost 74,000 international migrants and a natural increase of over 41,000 residents, it couldn’t offset the departure of almost 217,000 New Yorkers from mid-2022 to mid-2023.

The nationwide trend of immigration playing a pivotal role in population growth continued, with the United States adding 1.6 million people in 2023. Over two-thirds of this growth resulted from international migration, pushing the nation’s total population to 334.9 million. Population gains or losses come from births outpacing deaths, or vice versa, along with migration.

This resurgence in immigration follows a decline in the latter half of the last decade and a further drop during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, last year saw a rebound with nearly 1 million immigrants, and this year’s figures reached 1.1 million — the highest number in over two decades, as reported by the Census Bureau and compiled by demographer William Frey of The Brookings Institution.

It is a sign of things to come in this century, as the U.S. population is projected to decline without immigration since deaths will be outpacing births by the late 2030s.

“The immigration piece is going to be the main source of growth in the future,” Frey said.

While the U.S. overall growth rate of 0.5% in 2023 is relatively low by historical standards, it marks a slight uptick from the 0.4% rate the previous year and the less than 0.2% increase in 2021.

States with growth

This Sept. 26, 2005 photo shows a view of downtown Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

The growth was notably concentrated in the South, accounting for 87% of the overall increase. South Carolina boasted the highest growth rate at 1.7%, with over 90,000 new residents, primarily driven by domestic migration. In Florida, the second-highest growth state, the population increased by 1.6%, adding over 365,000 residents. Texas surpassed all states in raw numbers, gaining more than 473,000 people.

California retained its status as the most populous state with 38.9 million residents, despite losing over 75,000 residents in 2023 — an improvement from the previous year’s decline of over 113,000. Texas followed as the second most populous state with 30.5 million residents. Notably, Georgia surpassed 11 million people in 2023, joining an exclusive group of only eight states above that population threshold for the first time.

Top: A man stands near the East River and Brooklyn Bridge with the New York skyline in the background on a Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

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