NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 22, 2006

The South is becoming a population magnet for immigrants who come for the same reasons that pull Americans there from other states: the warm climate, jobs and cheaper housing, according to an analysis of Census Bureau estimates.


  • More than half of the population growth in the United States in the past year occurred in southern states.
  • North Carolina became the fourth Southern state among the 10 most populous, bumping New Jersey from 10th place; Texas remained 2nd, Florida 4th and Georgia 9th.
  • Nevada, the fastest-growing state for 19 consecutive years, dropped behind Arizona, which saw a 3.6 percent increase; Arizona's gains are accelerating because it is attracting not just retirees but also young residents who help boost birth rates.

For the first time since the early 1990s, when California was in a severe recession, the influx of immigrants to the United State's most populous state did not offset the loss of people to other states.  The state grew only because births outnumbered deaths.

The only anomaly in the estimates was Louisiana's net loss of 219,563 people, as a result of Hurricane Katrina's devastation.  If people don't return, Louisiana will lose a seat in the House of Representatives, according to an analysis by Election Data Services. Seats will be reapportioned after the 2010 Census.

Source: Haya El Nasser, "Southern growth leads USA," USA Today, December 22, 2006.

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