Montana’s population growth slowed again in 2023 after spiking in the two years following the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023 the state added 9,934 residents for a growth rate of 0.9%. That is well below the revised estimated number of residents Montana added in 2021 of 19,155 and 16,512 in 2022. The state now has a total population of 1,132,812.
State population trends have returned to pre-Covid norms as population increases are distributed more evenly across the U.S., according to the Census.
“More states experienced population growth in 2023 than in any year since the start of the pandemic,” the government agency wrote in a press release.
The U.S. population saw a slight uptick in growth this year, adding 1.6 million people and growing by 0.5% to 334,914,895. That’s still historically low, but it’s higher than the previous two years. The South still leads in population growth, followed by the West, which includes Montana.
South Carolina had the fastest growth rate in the country in 2023, followed by Florida. New York ranked last and has lost more than 100,000 residents over the last year, according to the Census.
Since the spring of 2020, when Covid-19 was declared a pandemic and much of the country first shut down, Montana has added 48,568 residents, with Flathead County and Gallatin County accounting for the majority of those gains. All of that population increase can be attributed to people migrating to the state and, according to the Census. Deaths actually outpaced births in the state over that same time period by 2,864 people.
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