Answered by Katherine BroomeMay 19, 2022
If you're looking to move to a new state, there are many things to consider. Climate, the economy, as well as population might be a major factor when deciding on a state. We have gotten the population of the ten most populous states in the U.S.
We have compiled two lists, the most populated states, and the least populated states. For each list, we will discuss the top five states. Every one of these states has positives and negatives, so be open-minded minded when looking for your next place to live. Of course, do ample research on whatever state you decide to live in. Check these issues out before making a decision on what state to move to:
- Look at cost of living differences
- Look at the job market (find a job if necessary)
- Visit the state and city at least once before moving out there
- If you have children, research schools and see what would work best for your family
- Moving isn’t cheap, so create a budget for your move
- Even if you’re moving yourself, create a budget since you will have the expenses of fuel, a moving truck, and possibly hotel room stays
- Choose a moving date that works best for you and your family (moving during the offseason is typically cheaper (winter and spring)
- Look at the floor plan of the home you’ve chosen and buy your furniture accordingly
- You could also buy new furniture (if needed) after you move in so you know the dimensions
Largest States by Population
- California (40 million people)
- Texas (30 million people)
- Florida (22 million people)
- New York (20 million people)
- Pennsylvania (13 million people)
- Illinois (12.5 million people)
- Ohio (11.7 million people)
- Georgia (10.8 million people)
- North Carolina (11 million people)
- Michigan (10 million people)
- Least Populated States
- Wyoming (582,000 people)
- Vermont (623,000 people)
- Washington DC (715,000 people)
- Alaska (725,000 people)
- North Dakota (780,000 people)
- South Dakota (897,000 people)
- Delaware (991,000 people)
- Montana (1.1 million people)
- Maine (1.4 million people)
What State to Choose?
As of Spring 2022, the United States has a population of about 335 million. The U.S. ranks third in the most populous countries in the world, and the population is equivalent to 4.5 percent of the global population. The majority of Americans live in urban areas (83% live in urban areas).
California is the most populated state in the U.S., with almost 40 million residents. While they are the most populous state, their population change percentage is -.8%, meaning their population is declining. This is for many reasons, including a high cost of living and housing costs.
Texas is the second most populous state, coming in with almost 30 million people. Texas has a growth rate of 1.4%. Many Californians that are leaving the state are heading out to Texas due to the Lone Star state’s growing economy and lower house prices.
Florida comes in third in population, with 22 million people. Many Californians are also headed to Florida due to its rising economy. Florida is the only state that borders both the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico.
New York is the fourth most populated state, with a population of around 20 million. About 10 million residents live in New York City alone. NY has a population growth rate of -1.8% due to the rising cost of living.
Pennsylvania comes in number five on our list of the most populated states with around 13 million people residing there. They have a population growth of -0.3% due to Pennsylvania’s low birth rate. PA is the 9th most densely populated state (New Jersey is the 1st).
Moving onto the least populated states in the U.S., we have Wyoming. Wyoming is the least populated state, with only 582,000 residents. One theory about why Wyoming is so small is because of its jagged mountains and the continental divide.
Vermont is the second least populated state, with only 623,000 residents. They have a growth rate of - 0.06%. There are no major urban areas in the state, with only nine incorporated cities. Vermont’s capital is Montpellier with only 7,500 residents.
Our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., comes in third place as the least populated state. While it has a low population, the capital is jam-packed full of people since the surface area is only 61 square miles. DC has a growth rate of 0.59%. During the work week, the capital’s population grows by over 1 million people coming in for work.
Alaska is the fourth-least populated state, with only 725,000 residents. Alaska’s growth rate is only – 0.5%. Alaska is the largest state in the union, with 665,000 square miles, making it the most sparsely populated states.
Finally, North Dakota comes in at the fifth least populated states with only 780,000 residents. ND has a growth rate of 0.5%. It is the 19th largest state by square miles (70,000 square miles), but it is very sparsely populated like Alaska.
Is More or Less Populated Better?
So, what state should you choose? These twenty different states vary greatly by population and growth rate. The argument can be made that if a state has a higher population, then it must be better since more people choose to live there.
On the other hand, it may not be so bad to live in a less populated state. There’s less traffic, lower house prices (typically), and you’ll be more secluded wherever you choose to live. That isn’t necessarily everyone’s style, though.
Washington DC (high unemployment) and New York (high cost of living and high unemployment) both rank high among the worst housing markets in the country. North Dakota (low poverty rate), Pennsylvania (high median income), and Ohio (high median household income) all rank among the top ten best housing markets in the country. If that is something that is crucial to you, check those three states out.
Georgia ranks among the top ten states for best cost of living. The median home price in GA is around $190,000. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is around $1,000 a month. Their grocery prices and transportation costs are below the national average. The median household income is around $55,000. While the state is populated, it’s an overall great place to live.
Overall, the choice is yours. You could also go crazy and choose to full-time RV and check out all the states in the US. If that interests you, we recommend choosing your residence in a state with no income taxes, like Texas, Wyoming, or Alaska. This ensures your taxes will be considerably lower, making your money last longer.