Los Angeles County lost the most people last year. How did others do it?
Several large, urban counties across the United States gained residents or halted population decline in the year ending last July, after losing residents in the previous 12-month period amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to US Census Bureau population estimates released Thursday.
Population changes are driven by migration, both within the United States when people move around the country, and from international trends when people come from abroad. It also depends on whether births exceed deaths, or vice versa.
Here’s a look at what drove population changes in the 10 largest US counties from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022.
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Los Angeles County, California
The most populous county in the country lost more than 90,000 residents last year and now has a population of 9.7 million people. Los Angeles County gained nearly 34,000 residents from abroad and another 18,000 people from births that exceeded deaths. But it was not enough to make up for the nearly 143,000 residents who left for another county. The loss from Angelenos moving elsewhere was 20% less than the previous year.
Cook County, Illinois
Home to Chicago, the nation’s second-largest county lost more than 68,000 residents last year. Residents of the Windy City and nearby communities evacuated 94,000 residents. Unlike other large urban counties, Cook County’s population loss from people moving away was not much less than the previous year. It was the fifth most popular destination for people coming from other countries. The county had 5.1 million inhabitants in July last year.
Harris County, Texas
The county of 4.7 million residents that includes Houston had the nation’s second largest population increase with 45,000 new residents, although 20,000 residents left for other locations. The gain was driven by one of the country’s highest levels of foreign migration and natural increase.
Maricopa County, Arizona
The biggest domestic migration boom was in the county that is home to Phoenix. Along with strong international migration and natural increase, Maricopa County grew by nearly 57,000 new residents and now has a population of 4.5 million people.
San Diego County, California
Although San Diego County only gained 1,254 new residents, it was a reversal from the decline of 11,000 people a year earlier. The drop in the number of residents leaving, combined with robust international migration as well as births exceeding deaths, brought the county to around 3.2 million residents.
Orange County, California
The coastal county south of Los Angeles that is home to Anaheim and Disneyland lost nearly 10,000 residents, but that was a smaller decline than the previous 12-month period due to a jump in international migration. It had a population of 3.1 million inhabitants.
Miami Dade County, Florida
The county only gained 3,416 new residents last year, but that was a face from the decline of almost 30,000 people a year earlier. Miami-Dade continued to bleed residents, but this loss was overcome by the nation’s largest influx of international migration. It had almost 2.7 million inhabitants.
Dallas County, Texas
The county of 2.6 million people gained almost 13,000 new residents after losing almost twice as many in the previous period. Robust international migration and births outstripping deaths helped it overcome the departure of 20,000 residents.
Kings County, New York
The county that includes Brooklyn lost nearly 47,000 people, but the decline was nearly half the size of the previous period. The county of 2.5 million had robust natural increase and a respectable amount of international migration, but more than 77,000 residents left.
Riverside County, California
The southern California county that is part of the Inland Empire gained more than 20,000 residents last year and now has 2.4 million people. Most of the growth came from domestic migration.