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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

December 30, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Slow population growth is the post-recession rule

The Census Bureau today released state population totals as of July 1. Washington clocked in at 6.97 million, up 229,150 from 2010. It continues to be the second most populous state in the West after California. Arizona, No. 3, added 217,834 to reach 6.63 million.

Elsewhere in the Northwest from 2010 through July 1:

  • Alaska, up 21,901 to 735,132.
  • Idaho, up 44,418 to more than 1.6 million.
  • Oregon, up 92,857 to more than 3.9 million.

Population growth from an economic perspective is a mixed bag. Grow too slow or lose population and that can mean lost output and lost talent. Grow too fast and it can mean stress on infrastructure, schools and the environment. The population added by migration makes a big difference, too: Is it high skilled or low skilled?

The Great Recession slowed population growth in general. The U.S. grew about 2.2 percent during this time. Washington’s population increased by 3.4 percent. Washington grew 14.1 percent in the 2000s.

That’s not enough for some states in the Sun Belt whose economies have been predicated on adding massive amounts of people. Arizona’s 3.4 percent increase makes it unlikely that it will repeat the 40 percent growth of the 1990s or even the 24.6 percent of the 2000s. Nevada, another growth epicenter, increased only 3.1 percent.

Texas, on the other hand, with energy, tech, corporate centers and major federal dollars, grew more than 4.5 percent. At the other end, Iowa’s population increased by barely 1.3 percent.

As of New Year’s Day, the Census projects the U.S. population will be 317.3 million.

And Don’t Miss: If the private sector is so great, why did UPS botch Christmas? | The New Republic

Today’s Econ Haiku:

We beat St. Louis

But a rematch could show up

Boeing, referee

0 Comments | More in Demographics

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