Happening Now: The Changing States of America

New data from the United States Census Bureau track population shifts in all 50 states from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016. LiveStories decided to put together a quick look at this data and help visualize the components of these population changes.

There are three main ways a state’s population changes over time:

  • Natural increase: a state’s total births minus its total deaths. (For two states—West Virginia and Maine—deaths outnumbered births, so they lost population.)

  • International migration: people moving from abroad to live in the state.

  • Domestic migration: people moving from one state to another.

On the story, you can use the filter to see how total population shifts in each state break down into each of these components.

Universal filters, like the one in this screenshot, are an easy way to add interactivity to your story's charts and maps. 

Universal filters, like the one in this screenshot, are an easy way to add interactivity to your story's charts and maps. 

Broadly speaking, western and southern states are growing, while the population in northern and middle America is stagnant or shrinking. The pattern of total population shifts generally matches that of domestic migration. But exploring the data in depth yields some interesting facts.

For example, New York’s total population has not shifted much in the past year. But this stasis belies a remarkable demographic turbulence: New York vacuums up immigrants from abroad, while its domestic population is fleeing to other states. It has the second-highest rate of international migration (+6 people per 1,000) and the highest negative rate of domestic migration (–9 per 1,000).

Utah is another interesting exception: no state’s overall population has increased as much as Utah’s. But the state’s net domestic migration is in the middle of the pack. The driving force behind the state’s expanding population is its extremely high natural increase rate—far more people are being born in Utah than dying.

LiveStories encourages our partners to make use of this story as a template to tell your own story about your local community. If you have an account, you can copy the story and its dataset—learn how to do this here—and then add local data about your state or county, and stories from your community.