Immigration accounted for almost half of U.S. growth last year

by Ike Obudulu Posted on April 22nd, 2019

People moving from other countries made up almost half of the U.S. population growth last year, according to estimates released by the U.S. census bureau.

The entire nation added a little over 2 million people in 2018, with 1.04 million of that number coming from “natural increase” or the number of births over deaths.

Another 978,826 people moved to the 50 states, and a lot of them were from Puerto Rico. The still-recovering island lost 129,848 in population in the past year, according to census data released last week.

Texas and Florida made up fully one-third of the United States’ population gain. Texas’ population grew by 379,128, while Florida’s grew by 322,000 in 2018.

New York and Illinois lost the greatest population over the past year, with drops of 48,510 and 45,116, respectively. West Virginia and Louisiana also saw considerable drops, at 11,216 and 10,840, respectively.

Many U.S. residents still are moving to Florida, resulting in net domestic migration gain of 132,603. But international growth was higher, including U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico, at 175,670.

For such a large state, Florida’s natural increase is low at 13,323, partly because of the high number of retirees who move to there. The Sunshine State saw 221,488 births and 208,165 deaths. Texas had 391,451 births and 200,500 deaths, for a natural increase of 190,951.

Among large metros, Dallas-Fort Worth had the largest numeric growth with a gain of 131,767 (1.8 percent) in 2018, followed by Phoenix with an increase of 96,268 (2.0 percent).

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metroplex stands out because it also is losing residents to other regions at a rapidly growing rate as it struggles with traffic congestion and high housing costs.

Miami-Dade, the state’s largest county, had a decrease of 51,671 in domestic migration — people moving to other parts of Florida or the United States.

But that was more than offset by an international migration boost of 58,732 and natural increase of 9,407.

Broward County, just north of Miami-Dade, showed an accelerating trend toward people moving out, with domestic migration loss of 10,337. With births, deaths and international migration Broward eked out some overall growth at 16,789 people.

New York’s largest county, or borough — Brooklyn — is booming economically but saw the population drop by 13,555. Another older urban area with high costs, Brooklyn had negative domestic migration of 46,706 people, while 12,424 moved in from other countries or Puerto Rico.

Palm Beach County was the only area of South Florida that had positive domestic migration, at 3,661. With 12,706 new international arrivals, overall growth was 15,603 people.

About one in 10 U.S. counties grew in the fiscal year that ended last June primarily because of immigration, showing how new arrivals are shaping the nation as the population ages and the birth rate slows.

The Orlando area in Florida mostly boomed, but the most urban part of it, Orange County, showed a loss in domestic migration of 202 people. Births and international migration boosted its population by 27,712.

Osceola County to the south of Orlando has had large influxes of Hispanic people. The county grew by 4.3 percent in 2018, the seventh-fastest rate in the nation. It added 4,385 in domestic migration and 8,862 in international for total growth of 15,329 and total population of 367,990.

Image: Map shows states with highest levels of international migration in darker green shades. Map generated by US Census Bureau website tools.

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