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Shrinking U.S. States

Which U.S. states had a population in 2022 that was at least 1% lower than the highest population ever reached by the state.
Decennial censuses and 2000–2022 annual estimates
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: December 30, 2022
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First submittedDecember 25, 2020
Times taken24,963
Average score57.1%
Rating4.30
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Loss
Peak
State
11.5%
1950
West Virginia
2.4%
2013
Illinois
2.1%
2020
New York
2.0%
2016
Louisiana
1.7%
2014
Mississippi
1.3%
2020
California
1.2%
2016
Alaska
29 Comments
+2
Level ∞
Dec 30, 2022
Nitpicky note:

The census data are a bit weird. The 2020 census numbers for New York and California are outliers, showing a higher population than would be implied by the annual estimates.

The true peak for both these states was probably earlier than 2020.

+5
Level 55
Dec 26, 2020
According to the Jetpunk chart, it says California has a growing population rate. Is COVID the reason why they are here?
+13
Level ∞
Dec 26, 2020
California is shrinking because people are moving to other states.
+3
Level 62
Dec 26, 2020
yeah, California has an exodus for two main reasons: wildfires, and cost of living
+7
Level ∞
Dec 26, 2020
Any evidence of the wildfires claim? I haven't heard that one before.
+1
Level 92
Jan 23, 2024
Plenty of anecdotal evidence, based on the number of people in my town who moved here following the Paradise fire. Yet while data is the plural of anecdote, I don't have anything to say it's statistically significant.
+3
Level 55
Dec 26, 2020
But according to the Jetpunk Charts, California is growing at a rate of 0.8 percent per year. So it isn't entirely shrinking. Yet, it quickly shrunk in a period of two years. Only a sudden event could cause that.
+3
Level 73
Dec 27, 2020
California mostly grows because of immigration and relatively high birthrate. Both those factors have been affected this year. The outward migration of longtime residents has been increasing for roughly the past decade but seems accelerated this year. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2021.
+5
Level 74
Dec 27, 2020
California wildfires is a normal occurrence. Just like earthquakes, no one moves because of them.
+4
Level 71
Jan 12, 2021
But the wildfires are way worse now than they have been in the past. I don't think it's a major reason why people are moving out of California now, but I have a hunch it might be a more prominent factor in the coming decades.
+10
Level 75
Jan 13, 2021
I know a couple who lost their home to a wildfire that was driven by the dry, 55 mph El Diablo winds and she barely made it out alive, driving alone through her burning neighborhood with flaming trees falling all around her. The fire destroyed 25 percent of their city and more fires have burned parts of the city since. Then they learned that they could only receive full insurance compensation if they built back on the same property, but new regulations added through the years made that cost-prohibitive. They elected to take less insurance money and move to another house which has since been threatened twice more by fire. Two couples they know have given up and moved to Idaho. The wildfires are getting larger and more frequent in CA and the air quality stays bad for weeks afterward. I realize this is anecdotal and wildfires aren't the only reason people are moving, but after hearing their story I believe they are a factor and it's only going to get worse.
+4
Level 65
Jan 14, 2021
@kapulani3 Wildfires in California are a normal occurrence, but have increased in number and severity in recent years. Also, it is incorrect to say that "no one" moves because of them. Some do. In fact, my Uncle and his family moved for this very reason.
+2
Level 87
Dec 26, 2020
Thus the photograph.
+7
Level 78
Dec 26, 2020
There’s way too much time most people can type all the states in this time. I think I did around 45 before I finished with around 50 seconds left. Maybe half the time?
+2
Level 74
Dec 26, 2020
I agree. After I finished the quiz, I went back and did it again - not by guessing but by typing all states . . . I learned them as a kid in alphabetical order. After I finished, I still had over a minute left.
+3
Level ∞
Dec 26, 2020
Reduced the time.
+5
Level 55
Dec 26, 2020
West Virginia was also interesting. I knew it was shrinking, but I had no idea it was that rapid. Apparently, it has the highest death rate in the nation. In 2017, 4500 more people died in the state, than the number of people who were born in the state that year.
+1
Level 74
Dec 27, 2020
I once would have thought it first but since I know of so many people moving there I thought it was growing. Since we are still in 2020 I'm wondering if these numbers were from earlier in the year (census) and as the year progressed people are moving in.
+1
Level 77
Dec 27, 2020
Something weird just happened. First of all, I didn't do very well but that's not it. I only got half right but I only guessed the hardest eight correctly. The easier ones eluded me. Quite the anomaly.
+4
Level 74
Jan 12, 2021
Why is Arizona on the thumbnail?
+3
Level 72
Jan 12, 2021
Because people are moving there (ie people leaving California)
+1
Level 56
Jan 25, 2023
We have enough people here as it is.
+9
Level 65
Jan 12, 2021
The definition of "shrinking" seems dubious to me, as it should be based on a trend not just the current state compared to peak population.

Thanks!

+1
Level 69
Dec 30, 2022
I could've sworn Vermont was shrinking as well.
+2
Level 51
Dec 30, 2022
Population grew a lot this year
+2
Level 87
Dec 31, 2022
That's because with all the tech people being laid off this year, they're clamoring to enter the burgeoning field of maple sugaring.
+3
Level 66
Jan 25, 2023
I left New York because of the stupid mask mandates and vaccine passports. Screw that, enjoy your dystopia.
+1
Level 67
Jan 25, 2023
I was in the middle of typing Mississippi when time ran out. Also missed WV and Louisiana
+2
Level 55
Mar 9, 2023
I'm really happy that there's only one midwestern state here. States like Michigan and Ohio have been through I lot so it make me happy to see that they aren't still going downhill.