December 22, 2004


Fastest growth found in 'red' states (Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg, 12/22/04, USA TODAY)

Robust population growth continues to sweep the nation's Southern and Western states, according to estimates released Wednesday by the Census Bureau.

If the trend continues at its current pace, states in the Northeast and Midwest that have been population powerhouses since the 19th century will lose their dominance to Sun Belt states by 2010.

New York, now the third most populous state, will likely be overtaken by Florida in five years. New Jersey, the 10th-largest state, could be passed by North Carolina in three.

"By 2010, none of the three most populous states will be in the North," says Robert Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech.

The USA's population on July 1 was 293.7 million, up 1% from July 1, 2003. If that growth rate holds, the nation will have 311.7 million people in 2010. That would put growth for the decade at about 10%, compared with 13.2% in the 1990s, the highest rate since the 1960s.

In terms of demographics, America is nothing like the rest of the West and Red America nothing like Blue, which makes our politics unique too.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2004 10:06 AM

That realignment is the bluing of the red. More people, more diversity, more garbage, more potholes and more success all point to a bluer state of mind.

Posted by: KindaBlue at December 22, 2004 8:20 PM