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Texas Leads Population Growth

By BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas, TX –

New population figures from the Census Bureau put Texas at the top of the list for population growth in 2009. KERA's BJ Austin says North Texas saw growth, too, but at a slower rate than previous years.

The Census Bureau says from July 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009, Texas added 478 thousand people, more than any other state. The new figure is part of the last state population estimate the Census Bureau will publish before the 2010 Census count next December.

California remains the most populous state; Texas second; followed by New York, Florida and Illinois.

In North Texas, the Council of Governments tracks regional population. Donna Coggeshall, with the Council, says the 2009 growth estimates fell below 100 thousand for the first time in 13 years as the recession moved in.

Coggeshall: You know, we didn't see a mass exodus out of the area because really there was no place to go. At that point, Texas was one of the few states that still had jobs, and in our North Central Texas area. It took us a little longer to see the same kind of job losses and unemployment. We sort of lagged.

Coggeshall says their estimates are based on occupied housing units. She says their population projections could be a bit skewed because of families moving in together due to foreclosures and job losses. That would mean a loss of occupied housing units, but not population.

The Census Bureau says three states lost population: Michigan, Maine, and Rhode Island. And growth rates have slowed significantly in several states, especially Florida and Nevada.

Email BJ Austin