A demographic analysis of the population growth of states, 1950-1980
State populations in the United States are characterized by large differences in current growth rates and historical growth trends. What demographic factors account for these differences? Population growth has only three components: births, deaths, and migration. In this study, we estimated the contributions of births, deaths, and migration to changes in population size between 1950 and 1980 for the 48 contiguous states in the United States. We found that population momentum (i.e., the growth that would occur in a closed population if fertility and mortality rates remained constant) had the largest effect on population growth in most states, but that differences in net migration were the major cause of state-to-state differences in growth rates. We also found that net migration has been gaining in importance compared to natural increase as a component of population growth. We expect this trend to continue in coming decades.
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