cities people move

The recent U.S. Census Report has revealed the top growing states in 2012. It is not easy to find a single thread that links all the top growing states, but there are some noticeable themes that emerge. Most interestingly, unemployment rate doesn’t necessarily count when it comes to drawing new residents. The report shows that population has flocked to America’s finest places for lower taxes, warmer weather, better employment opportunities and improved life standards.

North Dakota is topping the list with 2.17% growth over the previous year. The figure is pretty surprising, since it indicates that the state has shown growth three times greater than the overall national rate. North Dakota is the 2nd highest oil-producing state in the U.S., which is one of the major reasons why people prefer living here.

1. North Dakota

Total Population 699,628
Population Growth 2.17%
Rate of Unemployment 3.1%

 2. District of Columbia

Total Population 632,323
Population Growth 2.15%
Rate of Unemployment 8.5%

3. Texas

Total Population 26,059,203
Population Growth 1.67%
Rate of Unemployment 6.6%

4. Wyoming

Total Population 576,412
Population Growth 1.6%
Rate of Unemployment 5.2%

5. Utah

Total Population 2,855,287
Population Growth 1.45%
Rate of Unemployment 5.2%

6. Nevada

Total Population 2,758,931
Population Growth 1.43%
Rate of Unemployment 11.5%

7. Colorado

Total Population 5,187,582
Population Growth 1.39%
Rate of Unemployment 7.9%

8. Arizona

Total Population 6,553,255
Population Growth 1.33%
Rate of Unemployment 8.1%

9. Florida

Total Population 19,317,568
Population Growth 1.23%
Rate of Unemployment 8.5%

10. South Dakota

Total Population 833,354
Population Growth 1.19%
Rate of Unemployment 4.5%


Considering the current economic conditions, one might assume residents would move to the states with better employment opportunities, which appears to be happening to some degree. The famous oil rush of North Dakota managed to attract more than 10,000 additional residents to increase its tiny population. Washington, D.C., on the other hand, attracted approximately 6,000 new residents from all over the country, most of whom were seemingly young professional looking for work. However, four of the top ten fastest growing American states had unemployment rates less than national average last year.

If that is the case, what’s making people to move to areas with higher-than-average unemployment? Warm weather and low taxes are apparently the two top candidates. Warm weather encourages retirees, and professionals are encouraged by low taxes, even if the job market isn’t extraordinary on the whole. It’s most likely not a coincidence that most of the fastest depleting states tend to be colder-weather locations with higher taxes.

The following table shows the top states for domestic migration 2012.

(Incoming Residents per 1000 Population)

North Dakota 15.1
District of Columbia 9.7
Wyoming 9.7
South Carolina 5.7
Texas 5.5
Colorado 5.4
Arizona 5.3
Florida 5.3
South Dakota 5.1
Nevada 5.1


Immigration seems to be a non-factor for the fastest growing states other than Florida and DC. This might largely be due to the fact that net migration from Mexico has decrease to nil since the recession. Immigrants are apparently having huge impact on Atlantic coast instead of the Sunbelt.

Written by Margarita Hakobyan
Margarita Hakobyan is CEO and Founder of