The States People Are Leaving The Fastest

The states people leaving the fastest are West Virginia and Illinois for 2024 based on Saturday Night Science.

The States People Are Leaving The Fastest

Which states are seeing the most extensive population decline over time? Actually, there are precisely ten of them. The rest of the states have seen slight increases or BIG gains in people. We’ll talk about where states people are moving to and why everyone’s leaving these states.

On average, every five years, Americans move to another home. It’s not always a dramatic move – say going from California to Colorado. Often, it’s close by – across town or to another part of the state.

As a population, the United States is getting older, and older people can’t move as quickly as younger people can. Nowadays, both mom and dad have jobs, making mobility a tougher pill to swallow. And data shows that we don’t job hop as often as we used to.

So, what states are losing their population the fastest? We analyzed the most recent Census to data to determine the states everyone is leaving.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Table | Summary

What state is losing the most population? The state losing the most population is West Virginia based on the most recent Census data.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 States Everyone Is Leaving In The United States

1. West Virginia

West-Virginia|Wv, WV

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY 2.0

2022 Population: 1,774,035
2021 Population: 1,785,249
2010 Population: 1,854,230
1YR Population Change: -0.22%
Population Change Since 2010: -4.54%

Which state is the fastest shrinking of them all? West Virginia is. There are many many reasons why the Mountain State has been bleeding residents. Of course, jobs have a lot to do with it. The unemployment rate here is about 25% higher than the national average. Thusly, two thirds of the people leaving are doing so for bigger paychecks. Or actual paychecks. And most interestingly, nearly 3 in 10 people leaving are young. That’s really high. It’s like you grow up in West Virginia and then you get the heck outta West Virginia as soon as you can.

People here are poor – where 20% live in poverty. It’s an older, unhealthy population – and part of the decline is just people are dying. There were more deaths than births here last year.

Sadly, addictions are a big problem in West Virginia, too.

Review Of West Virginia by Aria Kuran

Okay. I lived in West Virginia for most of my life. It’s really not that bad as he says. I moved to Michigan later during my second year of high school because my father got a job offer. While it paid the same, he still wanted to go other places then where most of my family lived.

If you really want to live in West Virginia go ahead. I’m moving back soon with my fianc because he too used to live there. Can’t wait to see my family again!

2. Illinois

Illinois|Il, IL

Source: Public domain

2022 Population: 12,582,515
2021 Population: 12,690,341
2010 Population: 12,841,578
1YR Population Change: -0.26%
Population Change Since 2010: -2.27%

-.64% last year, -1.41% last ten years

Our next fastest shrinking state is Illinois. Why? Taxes. The weather. Chicago. Crime. Nothing to do.

Every 5 minutes, someone leaves Illinois for another state. This state lost 104,000 people last year. Illinois is the only midwest state that didn’t grow last year, outside of Kansas.

Because the population has shrunk so fast here, the demand for housing has also gone down quite a bit. That’s impacted one of Illinois’ biggest industries – real estate. Less homes means less property taxes, which means the economy has sinking even faster.

And, they’re talking about hiking income taxes even more here this year. Which will mean more people will likely leave. Bye Illinois!

3. Mississippi

Mississippi|Ms, MS

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY-SA 2.0

2022 Population: 2,938,928
2021 Population: 2,949,582
2010 Population: 2,970,322
1YR Population Change: 0.03%
Population Change Since 2010: -1.03%

Review Of Mississippi by Garrett Fornea

Actually I live in Mississippi, and, I have it pretty good here. There’s a lot of people here and in any state who don’t have it so well, but I’m pretty happy with it. One thing is you have to separate North Mississippi from South Mississippi. Southern Mississippi, where I live, has the Gulf Coast and is a beautiful place to live. Northern Mississippi has the Delta, one of the poorest places in the entire nation. But for all our low wages, hey, at least our living costs are low.

4. Connecticut

Connecticut|Ct, CT

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY 2.0

2022 Population: 3,608,706
2021 Population: 3,603,691
2010 Population: 3,579,899
1YR Population Change: 0.23%
Population Change Since 2010: 1.04%

Mappy has no idea what day to day costs are. I haven’t really told you guys, but his family has been living with me for the last three years. I might have to do something about that.

But for now, we drop in on Connecticut for a LIVE VIEW of a very happy family packing their shit. Like Alaska before it, Connecticut’s population has dropped for six consecutive years. Families like this are moving out every day.

That’s kind of a weird way to pack. What are they doing with the plastic like that?

More than one in three people leave Connecticut because they retired. And three quarters are relatively wealthy folks. Connecticut had a net loss of 30,000 people last year – many to nearby New York, Massachusetts and California for some reason.

5. Louisiana

Louisiana|La, LA

Source: Public domain

2022 Population: 4,588,023
2021 Population: 4,627,047
2010 Population: 4,544,996
1YR Population Change: -0.31%
Population Change Since 2010: 0.63%

We go down south for the first time. And actually for the last time. Louisiana is only southern state that didn’t increase residents last year. Even Mississippi gained a few people. As we mentioned earlier, the south and the west are where we’re all moving.

The biggest destination for Louisianans is next door in Texas. A whopping 70% of people leaving Louisiana are doing it for better jobs. As you may know, if you don’t work in energy, the fishing industry, or in agriculture, it’s tough findin work here, mister.

And the lower the oil prices go, the poorer everyone here gets. Sadly.

Review Of Louisiana by Marksmans 1013

I live in Louisiana and I love it. Just based on the stuff you used to make the list, like weather and bugs, Louisiana should be #1.

We have over 50% of the entire country’s wetlands, which makes it a major hotspot for mosquitoes, Crime rate is pretty high, and poverty is really high. Drugs are also a problem.

6. New York

New-York|Ny, NY

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY 3.0

2022 Population: 19,673,200
2021 Population: 19,854,526
2010 Population: 19,402,640
1YR Population Change: -0.52%
Population Change Since 2010: 0.87%

The northeastern part of the US has been hit hard by an outward population migration. It’s been four consecutive years that the Empire State has lost people. Many of them are from upstate, a region which has been hit hard with manufacturing job losses. And the cold climate doesn’t help.

But it’s not just folks leavin the sticks. Last year, 131 people left New York City every single day. Lots of folks are burned out by the fast-paced life, and the high cost of living is just wearing on people.

Of course – many people are moving TO New York City as well. Two thirds came from abroad – that means other countries.

A lot of New Yorkers are leaving for southern states – especially Florida – which is the 5th fastest growing state of all. Mostly because it’s warm here, and there’s no income tax.

New Yorkers also flee to nearby New Jersey and Pennsylvania at a high clip.

Review Of New York by Robert Bykowski

I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in my opinion, the four best states to live in are New York, California, Illinois and Massachusetts. Unfortunately, all four are extremely expensive. But there are simply no cities in the country that offer as much to do and as many exciting cultural opportunities as New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. No other cities in the country match up to the excitement that those five cities offer. Unfortunately, with excitement comes price, and that’s why you need the big bucks to live in any of the places I named, although good deals can be found in Chicago if you really hunt around. By the way, when crime is reported regarding Chicago, one of the things that they often DON’T tell you is that it is almost all black-on-black, drug related crime on the south side of Chicago. And I was amazed at how safe New York City has become the four times that I’ve been there. They really cleaned things up there.

7. Michigan

Michigan|Mi, MI

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL

2022 Population: 10,033,281
2021 Population: 10,038,117
2010 Population: 9,877,495
1YR Population Change: 0.04%
Population Change Since 2010: 1.62%

Review Of Michigan by Jake Marshall

Michigan is one of the greatest states to live and to visit! Not only are we surrounded by 4 out of 5 of the biggest fresh water lakes in the US with awesome diverse beaches…we also have great people, great agriculture, good green energy, good tourism. great fishing, great hunting, and outstanding students. I’m from Grand Rapids, live in Bay City, and work in Saginaw.

There’s nothing bad about living in Michigan. We have luscious wildlife, great beaches, and a determined people. Come join us! If you dare! lol

8. Ohio

Ohio|Oh, OH

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL

2022 Population: 11,759,697
2021 Population: 11,765,227
2010 Population: 11,540,983
1YR Population Change: 0.22%
Population Change Since 2010: 2.12%

Review Of Ohio by sweet mustache

i guess i have it good i live in ohio

9. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania|Pa, PA

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY 2.0

2022 Population: 12,972,091
2021 Population: 13,013,614
2010 Population: 12,712,343
1YR Population Change: -0.08%
Population Change Since 2010: 1.96%

Review Of Pennsylvania by V1per O

I live in Pa, I have been to Georgia and Florida to hang out with my family – and they were both AWESOME. Not sure what this guy is on as far as trashing the weather down there, but I felt it with my own skin and it was great 🙂

10. New Mexico

New-Mexico|Nm, NM

Source: Public domain

2022 Population: 2,113,476
2021 Population: 2,116,950
2010 Population: 2,064,756
1YR Population Change: 0.04%
Population Change Since 2010: 2.40%

Review Of New Mexico by Chris Maestas

I live in New Mexico and honestly you described a city. Albuquerque is where majority of the population is and where 1/2 the crime happens. Most places are small towns where not much goes on. And New Mexico is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the whole country. Lots of Volcanoes. Lates, mountains. Also some of the best food someone could ever have. Except it sounds like you wouldn’t be able to handle even the red chili lol

Methodology: How did we determine the states people are leaving for 2024?

Population Change By State Since 2010

To determine the fastest-shrinking states in the United States, we used Saturday Night Science to look at the estimated population of each state from the 2010 Census and compared that against data from the St. Louis Fed Estimate for the most recent data year, 2022.

We then calculated the percent change change in the population for each of the states. Finally, we ranked each state from lowest percent population change to highest percent for that 14 year period.

What state is growing the slowest? The state growing the slowest is West Virginia.

Wrapping Up The Fastest Shrinking States In The US

So, next time you’re looking around, wondering why on earth you’re stuck. Remember this: You’re not. Take action and move on to greener pastures. You’ll be a lot happier. You can always come back.

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to me I don’t want to be here
Just know I’m not alone
I don’t want to make this state my home.

The slowest growing states in the United States are West Virginia, Illinois, Mississippi, Connecticut, Louisiana, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico.

For more reading, check out:

Table: The Fastest Shrinking States In The US

Rank State Population 2022 Population 2021 Population 2010 1YR Population Change Population Change Since 2010
1 West Virginia 1,774,035 1,785,249 1,854,230 -0.22% -4.54%
2 Illinois 12,582,515 12,690,341 12,841,578 -0.26% -2.27%
3 Mississippi 2,938,928 2,949,582 2,970,322 0.03% -1.03%
4 Connecticut 3,608,706 3,603,691 3,579,899 0.23% 1.04%
5 Louisiana 4,588,023 4,627,047 4,544,996 -0.31% 0.63%
6 New York 19,673,200 19,854,526 19,402,640 -0.52% 0.87%
7 Michigan 10,033,281 10,038,117 9,877,495 0.04% 1.62%
8 Ohio 11,759,697 11,765,227 11,540,983 0.22% 2.12%
9 Pennsylvania 12,972,091 13,013,614 12,712,343 -0.08% 1.96%
10 New Mexico 2,113,476 2,116,950 2,064,756 0.04% 2.40%
11 Alaska 733,276 734,923 714,031 0.02% 2.71%
12 Kansas 2,936,716 2,937,946 2,858,850 0.13% 2.86%
13 Missouri 6,177,168 6,170,393 5,996,118 0.31% 3.34%
14 Wyoming 581,629 579,548 564,513 0.42% 3.46%
15 Vermont 647,110 647,093 625,982 0.05% 3.43%
16 Wisconsin 5,890,543 5,879,978 5,690,263 0.35% 3.88%
17 Kentucky 4,511,563 4,507,600 4,348,662 0.32% 4.08%
18 Rhode Island 1,093,842 1,097,092 1,053,337 0.19% 4.05%
19 Arkansas 3,046,404 3,028,443 2,921,995 0.70% 4.99%
20 California 39,040,616 39,145,060 37,332,685 -0.19% 4.37%
21 Maine 1,389,338 1,378,787 1,327,730 0.46% 5.12%
22 Iowa 3,199,693 3,197,944 3,050,738 0.23% 5.12%
23 New Jersey 9,260,817 9,269,175 8,803,729 0.32% 5.53%
24 Indiana 6,832,274 6,813,798 6,490,528 0.44% 5.73%
25 Hawaii 1,439,399 1,446,745 1,363,945 -0.30% 5.22%
26 Alabama 5,073,903 5,050,380 4,785,492 0.68% 6.75%
27 New Hampshire 1,399,003 1,387,494 1,316,872 0.22% 6.47%
28 Massachusetts 6,982,740 6,991,951 6,565,524 0.27% 6.64%
29 Maryland 6,163,981 6,175,045 5,788,584 0.26% 6.77%
30 Oklahoma 4,019,271 3,991,634 3,759,603 0.86% 7.83%
31 Nebraska 1,968,060 1,964,253 1,830,051 0.52% 8.11%
32 Minnesota 5,714,300 5,717,968 5,311,147 0.41% 8.04%
33 Virginia 8,679,099 8,657,348 8,025,773 0.42% 8.60%
34 Oregon 4,239,379 4,256,465 3,838,048 -0.14% 10.30%
35 Tennessee 7,048,976 6,963,709 6,356,671 1.10% 12.11%
36 South Dakota 909,869 896,299 816,325 1.04% 12.62%
37 North Carolina 10,695,965 10,567,100 9,558,915 1.30% 13.35%
38 Georgia 10,913,150 10,790,385 9,713,521 1.06% 13.55%
39 Delaware 1,019,459 1,004,881 899,816 1.22% 14.68%
40 Montana 1,122,878 1,106,366 990,641 0.88% 14.35%
41 South Carolina 5,282,955 5,193,848 4,635,943 1.71% 15.91%
42 Arizona 7,365,684 7,272,487 6,408,312 0.89% 15.96%
43 Washington 7,784,477 7,741,433 6,743,226 0.36% 15.86%
44 North Dakota 778,912 777,982 674,526 0.64% 16.22%
45 Colorado 5,841,039 5,811,596 5,048,644 0.63% 16.42%
46 Nevada 3,177,421 3,146,632 2,703,284 0.53% 18.16%
47 Florida 22,245,521 21,830,708 18,849,098 1.64% 19.96%
48 Texas 30,029,848 29,561,286 25,244,310 1.58% 20.83%
49 Utah 3,381,236 3,339,284 2,775,326 1.08% 23.15%
50 Idaho 1,938,996 1,904,537 1,571,010 1.33% 25.06%
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 900,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.