The 10 Largest States by Population

From the East Coast to the West Coast, there are 50 beautiful states in the U.S. to choose from when making a long-distance move decision. For those wanting a fresh start in a popular state, we recommend considering the 10 most populated states in the U.S. After all, they’re popular for a reason, right? Below, we’ve included the largest states by population as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. The latest data released in December 2022 by the U.S. Census Bureau covers the period of April 1, 2020 – July 1, 2022 (below, we cited the 2022 numbers).

  1. California

    It could be the cliff-lined beaches, giant redwoods or booming tech and entertainment industries — but one thing’s for sure: California is a popular place to call home. According to the latest Census data, the Golden State is officially the most populous state in the country. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 39,029,342
    • Population density: California is the third largest state by area, putting its population density at 251.3 per square mile, which ranks 11th in the country. Given California’s large size (in terms of surface area), this is especially impressive.
    • Population notes: According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the California Department of Finance currently projects that the state’s population will reach almost 42 million by 2030, but new projections to be released this year are likely to be lower.” Both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are two of the country’s most populated urban areas.
    • State capital: Sacramento
    • Major cities in California include: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Oakland, Santa Ana, and Anaheim.
    • Fun fact: California’s GDP in 2022 was $3.6T, representing 14.3% of the total U.S. economy. If California were a country, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.
  2. Texas

    Whether you’re a cowboy or an aerospace engineer, Texas is a fantastic place to call home. The Lone Star State boasts a rich history, ample job opportunities, authentic tex-mex, a major space center, presidential libraries, and plenty of vibrant cities. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 30,029,572
    • Population density: Given its large size, which only ranks second in the nation behind Alaska, it’s no surprise that Texas has a large population. Texas might be the second largest in terms of surface area at 268,581 square miles (696,241 square kilometers) but has just 105.2 people per square mile and those figures are merely the 26th highest in the U.S. You’ll find many Texas residents living in and around major cities, such as Dallas and Houston.
    • Population notes: Texas has three cities with more than one million people: Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, which also rank as 10 of the most populous cities in the country. There are also three cities with a population of over 500,000, which are El Paso, Fort Worth and the capital, Austin, which are among the 25 largest cities in the US.
    • State capital: Austin
    • Major cities in Texas include: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, Irving, Plano, and Corpus Christi.
    • Fun fact: The popular Texas slogan, “Don’t Mess with Texas,” comes from a 1990’s anti-littering advertising campaign.


  3. Florida

    If you’re looking for warm, balmy winters, you’ll find it in Florida. The average January – February temperatures in South Florida hover around the 75-degree mark, making it prime beach weather year-round. The peninsula is the southeasternmost state in the U.S., and is surrounded on all three sides by the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 22,244,823
    • Population density: In terms of population density, Florida has a surface area of 65,755 square miles (170,304 square kilometers). Based on estimates, that equates to 353.4 people per square mile, (136.4 per square kilometer) and that makes it the eighth most densely populated state in the U.S. Given its popularity with retirees and snowbirds, it’s no wonder Florida is one of the most densely populated states in the country.
    • Population notes: As of December 2022, Florida is the nation’s fastest-growing state for the first time since 1957, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 population estimates. Florida’s population increased by 1.9% to 22,244,823 between 2021 and 2022, surpassing Idaho, the previous year’s fastest-growing state.
    • State capital: Tallahassee
    • Major cities in Florida include: Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, and Fort Lauderdale.
    • Fun fact: The Florida Everglades, visited by over one million people every year, is the largest tropical wilderness east of the Mississippi River.
  4. New York

    The State of New York is well-known for being home to the most densely populated major city in the country: New York City. The iconic city is one of the most important financial, commercial and cultural centers in the entire world. In addition to the city, the State of New York boasts a diverse geography with notable mountains, lakes and rivers throughout the state. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 19,677,151
    • Population density: New York State has an overall population density of 421 people per square mile, with an area of 47,126 square miles. New York City is the most densely populated major city in the country. The next largest city in the state of New York is Buffalo.
    • Population notes: Following a record loss between 2020 and 2021, New York State’s population decreased by another 180,341 people during the 12 months ending July 1, 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
    • State capital: Albany
    • Major cities in New York include: New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, Syracuse, and Albany.
    • Fun fact: New York City makes up almost half of the entire population of the State of New York.
  5. Pennsylvania

    The State of Pennsylvania is well-known for its central role in American history. Both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were drafted in the city of Philadelphia. Today, Pennsylvania has become a major financial industry leader with multiple Fortune 500 companies calling the state home. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 12,972,008
    • Population density: Pennsylvania is currently the ninth most densely populated state in the country with a density of 283.9 people per square mile. A great deal of the state’s population is in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, as the city has a population of 1.56 million.
    • Population notes: The population of Pennsylvania in 2022 was 12,972,008, a 0.31% decline from 2021.
    • State capital: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Scranton, Lancaster, Bethlehem, Levittown, and Harrisburg.
    • Major cities in Pennsylvania include:
    • Fun fact: Rich in history, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was one of the 13 original colonies in America.


  6. Illinois

    From the rich farmland to the skyscrapers of Chicago, this unique Midwestern state offers one of the most diverse economies and geographic landscapes in the country. It is also home to a slew of natural resources, including coal, petroleum and timber. Often referred to as the “Land of Lincoln,” the State of Illinois is home to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as well as the future Barack Obama Presidential Center. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 12,582,032
    • Population density: The total area of Illinois is 57,914 square miles, with a population density of 230 people per square mile. Most of the Illinois population is heavily concentrated in the North East of the state in the metropolitan area of Chicago. Chicago, which is home to 2,720,546 people, remains the largest city in Illinois.
    • Population notes: Research organization Illinois Policy Institute reports that the “data from the Internal Revenue Service shows Illinois in 2021 lost residents of every age and income level, with the majority of them prime working-age adults and earning more than $100,000.”
    • State capital: Springfield
    • Major cities in Illinois include: Chicago, Springfield, Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville and Peoria.
    • Fun fact: Illinois is nicknamed “The Prairie State.”
  7. Ohio

    Dubbed “The Buckeye State” for its Buckeye trees, Ohio is home to both expansive, rural regions and several large cities (i.e. Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati). It is also referred to as “the mother of presidents,” as eight U.S. presidents were originally from Ohio. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 11,756,058
    • Population density: Ohio has a population density of 282.3 people per square mile, ranking 10th in the nation, with a total land area of 44,825 square miles, which ranks 34th. Ohio’s population is spread throughout the state with many major cities. Columbus, the capital, has the highest population, followed by Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Akron.
    • Population notes: U.S. Census Bureau population estimates for Ohio “have trended lower over the past two years and are prompting state officials to launch new strategies to retain and attract people to live in the Buckeye State,” writes the Dayton Daily News. According to U.S. Census data, Ohio’s population dropped by 0.4% from the 2020 Census to the 2022 estimates.
    • State capital: Columbus
    • Major cities in Ohio include: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Parma, Canton, and Youngstown.
    • Fun fact: Ohio is famous for being a “swing state” during national elections.
  8. Georgia

    This Southern U.S. state boasts beautiful beaches, flat farmland and rolling mountains. The capital city of Atlanta also offers the fifth highest job growth rate in the U.S., with major companies like Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola calling the area home. In addition, the popular city of Savannah, Georgia, attracts tourists for its historic architecture and famous sites. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 10,912,876
    • Population density: Georgia is the 24th largest U.S. state when it comes to sheer land mass. The total surface area is 59,425 square miles (or 153,909 square kilometers) and for every square mile of Georgian territory, there is an average of 168.4 people. Georgia ranks 18th in the United States in population density. Much of the population is located in and around the Atlanta, Columbus and the Augusta-Richmond area.
    • Population notes: The population of Georgia in 2022 was 10,912,876, a 1.16% increase from 2021.
    • State capital: Atlanta
    • Major cities in Georgia include: Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah, and Athens.
    • Fun fact: Thanks to the state’s generous tax credits for film productions, Georgia is now a major hub for the film industry.


  9. North Carolina

    From the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, the State of North Carolina boasts a wide-ranging landscape, a diverse population and a booming economy. The Southeastern state, with its large metropolitan areas and many tiny towns, offers the best of both urban living and small-town life. The state is also famous for its scrumptious BBQ and exceptionally friendly residents. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 10,698,973
    • Population density: North Carolina may only rank in the lower middle half of the U.S. in terms of size but it more than makes up for those statistics with its population density. The total surface area is 53,819 square miles (139,390 square kilometers) and there is an average of 196 people for every square mile. This makes North Carolina the 15th most densely populated state in the U.S. Charlotte is by far the largest city in North Carolina.
    • Population notes: The population of North Carolina in 2022 was 10,698,973, a 1.26% increase from 2021.
    • State capital: Raleigh
    • Major cities in North Carolina include: Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Cary, High Point, and Fayetteville.
    • Fun fact: North Carolina’s motto “first in flight” references the Wright Brothers’ strides in aviation. The flight of their plane “Kitty Hawk” marked the first flight in the U.S., which took place in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
  10. Michigan

    This Midwestern state borders four Great Lakes, and is the only state in the U.S. to be made up of two separate peninsulas (the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula). Given its access to the Great Lakes and thousands of smaller, inland lakes, Michigan is one of the most popular destinations in the country for boating. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • Population: 10,034,113
    • Population density: With a total land mass of 96,716 square miles, (250,493 square kilometers), Michigan is the 11th biggest state in the USA by area. The land is fairly densely packed. For every square mile of Michigan territory, there is an average of 174 people (67.1 per square kilometer). Those figures leave Michigan ranking 18th in terms of population density. Much of the population is located in and around Detroit, Grand Rapids and Warren.
    • Population notes: The population of Michigan in 2022 was 10,034,113, a 0.03% decline from 2021.
    • State capital: Lansing
    • Major cities in Michigan include: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Flint.
    • Fun fact: Michigan is considered the U.S. automotive industry capital, with several major car companies headquartered in the Detroit area.

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Largest states by population

Rank State Population
1 California 39,029,342
2 Texas 30,029,572
3 Florida 22,244,823
4 New York 19,677,151
5 Pennsylvania 12,972,008
6 Illinois 12,582,032
7 Ohio 11,756,058
8 Georgia 10,912,876
9 North Carolina 10,698,973
10 Michigan 10,034,113
11 New Jersey 9,261,699
12 Virginia 8,683,619
13 Washington 7,785,786
14 Arizona 7,359,197
15 Tennessee 7,051,339
16 Massachusetts 6,981,974
17 Indiana 6,833,037
18 Missouri 6,177,957
19 Maryland 6,164,660
20 Wisconsin 5,892,539
21 Colorado 5,839,926
22 Minnesota 5,717,184
23 South Carolina 5,282,634
24 Alabama 5,074,296
25 Louisiana 4,590,241
26 Kentucky 4,512,310
27 Oregon 4,240,137
28 Oklahoma 4,019,800
29 Connecticut 3,626,205
30 Utah 3,380,800
31 Iowa 3,200,517
32 Nevada 3,177,772
33 Arkansas 3,045,637
34 Mississippi 2,940,057
35 Kansas 2,937,150
36 New Mexico 2,113,344
37 Nebraska 1,967,923
38 Idaho 1,939,033
39 West Virginia 1,775,156
40 Hawaii 1,440,196
41 New Hampshire 1,395,231
42 Maine 1,385,340
43 Montana 1,122,867
44 Rhode Island 1,093,734
45 Delaware 1,018,396
46 South Dakota 909,824
47 North Dakota 779,261
48 Alaska 733,583
49 Vermont 647,064
50 Wyoming 581,381

Curious which states are the least populated?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 10 least populated states in the U.S. include:

  1. Wyoming
  2. Vermont
  3. Alaska
  4. North Dakota
  5. South Dakota
  6. Delaware
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Montana
  9. Maine
  10. New Hampshire

Ready to move to one of these states?

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The 10 Largest States by Population
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