U.S. 2000 Census Shows Biggest Growth Ever. For the first time in a century, the U.S. population grew in every state

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Monday April 2 5:30 PM ET U.S. 2000 Census Shows Biggest Growth Ever

By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For the first time in a century, the U.S. population grew in every state, with the 2000 census showing the biggest numeric increase ever recorded over a 10-year period, the Census Bureau said on Monday.

The U.S. population grew by 32.7 million people between 1990 and 2000 to 281.4 million. The biggest previous 10-year numeric increase occurred between 1950 and 1960 -- the post-Second World War ``baby boom'' era -- when the population jumped by 28 million people to 179.3 million, the bureau said.

In percentage terms, the increase from 1990 to 2000 amounted to a 13.2 percent gain. The 1950 to 1960 increase was about 18.5 percent.

``Population growth was not just faster this decade, it was more widespread. For the first time in the 20th century, every state gained,'' Census Bureau demographer Marc Perry told a news conference.

John Long, chief of the Census Bureau's Population Division, attributed the hike to more births than deaths, increased immigration and improved methods of doing the census, but said it would be some time before the exact reasons were known.

``Yes, immigration did play a large role, but we are in the process of looking at data to see the whole picture,'' Long told the news conference, one of several this year to explain 2000 census figures in more detail as they are released.

West Was Fastest-Growing Region

The fastest-growing region was the West, which grew by 19.7 percent and added 10.4 million people in the 1990s for a total of 63.2 million.

Nevada's population grew at a hectic pace of 66.3 percent, Arizona at 40 percent, Colorado at 30.6 percent, Utah at 29.6 percent and Idaho at 28.5 percent, the bureau said.

California, the nation's most populous state, had the biggest numeric increase of any state, with a 4.1 million rise over the previous census in 1990 to 33.8 million people.

The South was the second fastest-growing region, with Georgia growing by 26.4 percent, while the Midwest grew by 7.9 percent overall and the Northeast by 5.5 percent.

Counties with large increases generally were in or near major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta; Phoenix, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Houston.

Maricopa County in Arizona had the biggest numeric gain, with a rise of 950,000 people, while counties in Florida, north Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, southwest Missouri and eastern Texas also had rapid growth.

Douglas County in Colorado grew by 191 percent, the fastest percentage growth of any county in the country, said Perry.

A band of counties that lost population stretched across the Great Plains states from the Mexican to the Canadian borders, while a second band of slow growth extended from Maine through western Pennsylvania and West Virginia to eastern Kentucky.

``Given the regional population trends of the last decade, it is not surprising that counties and cities with the biggest gains are in the West and South, while the Northeast had the largest declines,'' Perry said.

New York Remains Most Populous Metropolitan Area

New York continued to be the most populous metropolitan area, with 21.2 million people, followed by Los Angeles with 16.4 million. One out of every 13 people lived in the New York area, Perry said.

More than 8 out of 10 people in the 2000 census lived in metropolitan areas (226 million), and 3 in 10 came from areas with at least 5 million people.

North Dakota and West Virginia were the slowest-growing states, with North Dakota growing by 0.5 percent and West Virginia at a sluggish 0.8 percent.

The nation's capital, the District of Columbia, which is not a state, had a population drop of 5.7 percent to 572,059 people

-- K (infosurf@yahoo.com), April 03, 2001

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