HONOLULU (KHON2) — More than 73% of U.S. counties experienced a natural decline last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau report released Thursday.
Natural decline means there are more deaths than births over a given period, which was intensified last year by the COVID-19 pandemic. Declining births, aging populations and increasing mortality have contributed to an increase in natural decrease in 2021.
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Hawaii’s population decreased by 10,358 from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021.
According to latest data from the Census BureauOahu’s population decreased by 12,337 over a 12-month period and Maui County decreased by 434.
However, two counties saw their population increase: Hawaii County increased by 2,160 residents and Kauai County increased by 253 residents.
The US Census Bureau added that more than half of counties nationwide saw positive in-migration overall from 2020 to 2021. Maricopa County in Arizona gained the most with 46,866 residents.
“Even though over time we have seen a higher number of counties with a natural decrease and net international migration continuing to decline, over the past year the contribution of internal migration has counteracted these trends, from so there were actually more counties growing than losing population,” said Dr. Christine Hartley, deputy division chief for estimates and projections at the Census Bureau’s Population Division.
Of the 384 metropolitan areas in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, more than half experienced natural shrinkage in 2021, according to the US Census Bureau.
Highlights of county growth and decline:
- Five of the top 10 winning counties in 2021 were in Texas. Collin, Fort Bend, Williamson, Denton and Montgomery counties gained a total of 145,663 residents.
- Los Angeles County, California has seen the largest population loss of any county, losing 159,621 residents in 2021.
- Seventy-one percent of counties (2,218) experienced positive net international migration.
- Four counties crossed the 100,000 population threshold in 2021: Cleveland County, North Carolina (100,359), Lancaster County, South Carolina (100,336), Bastrop County, Texas (102 058) and Grant County, Washington (100,297).
- Los Angeles County, California (9,829,544) and Cook County, Illinois (5,173,146) had over 5 million residents in 2021, making them the two most populous counties from the country.
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