Every day last year, an average of 281 people moved to North Carolina, a positive migration pattern that helped the Tar Heel state’s population cross the 10-million mark.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports North Carolina is only the ninth state in the nation to have more than 10 million people living in it. The other states include California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia.
The reasons people are moving to North Carolina vary. The state has large metro areas that offer plenty of job diversity, major universities and large research associations.
“As a North Carolinian, I know we also talk about the quality of life. You have everything from the mountains to the coast,” said Rebecca Tippett, director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Population Center. Tippett, a transplant from Ohio, said milder weather was one of the factors that influenced her decision to relocate to North Carolina.
Elsewhere in the country, Florida added more people than California for the first time in a decade. Florida gained 365,703 people, which pushed its population past the 20 million mark. The sunshine state is only the third state to reach that milestone.
With 39.1 million people, California remains the most populous U.S. state, while Texas is second with 27.5 million people.
The fastest growing state, for the fourth year in a row, was North Dakota, with a population hike of 2.3 percent, followed by Colorado, the District of Columbia and Nevada.
With the exception of North Dakota, the 10 fastest-growing states were all located in the South or West, which tend to have a lower cost of living, lower property taxes, and milder weather.
“Depending on which state you look at, you’re going to get a slightly different profile of why people are moving,” Tippett said. “I’m not sure that we can say they all have something in common, other than the fact that they have good employment opportunities and they are appealing places to live relative to places people are comparing them to.”
Overall, the U.S. population increased by 0.79 percent from July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015, to 321.4 million.
However, seven states lost population including Illinois (22,194), West Virginia (4,623), Connecticut (3,876), Mississippi (1,110), Maine (928), Vermont (725) and New Mexico (458).