A Highway in Atlanta
Georgia is one of the states that has gained more population due to immigration. Unsplash.com/Melvin Chávez

Recent waves of immigration in the U.S. drove population gains over the past year. From Northeast to South, the country is seeing a shift in demographics, particularly in how counties are being shaped and populated, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Domestic migration patterns are changing, and the impact on counties is especially evident," said Lauren Bowers, chief of the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Branch. "Areas which experienced high levels of domestic out-migration during the pandemic, such as in the Midwest and the Northeast, are now seeing more counties with population growth."

In fact, approximately 60% of U.S. counties gained population from 2022 to 2023, an increase from the 52% of counties that experienced population growth between 2021 and 2022.

This was also the first time since 2020 that more counties in the Midwest had population gains than losses.

One of the main reasons for this trend is credited to international migration.

80% of U.S. counties had positive net international migration in 2023, figures showed. Miami-Dade County, Florida and Harris County, Texas, in particular, saw the largest gains from this kind of migration. The former had a population increase of almost 55,000 people in a year, while the later saw over 40,000 new residents.

All counties in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island experienced positive net international migration as well.

Other reasons cited for this shift were domestic migration and natural change. The former allowed for 62% of counties to experience positive net domestic migration in 2023. The latter caused a decrease of natural population, as deaths outnumbered births in fewer counties.

Looking at nominal growth, Texas was the state that saw the most increases, with eight of the 10 counties topping the list. After Harris County, Collin and Montgomery held the second and third overall spots. The two counties from another state were Maricopa (Arizona) and Polk (Florida)

Interestingly, Puerto Rico saw some population shifts as well. While the island's overall population declined, 13 of its 78 municipalities experienced growth in 2023; none had done so in 2022.

Though the study does not particularly go into details on the race, ethnicity or overall background of the people causing these population increases, it nevertheless follows a historic wave of immigration in 2023, particularly people coming from the southern border.

U.S. Border Patrol recorder some 2.5 million encounters with migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico in fiscal year 2023, a new historic high. The agency saw nearly a quarter of a million in December 2023, the highest monthly total on record.

The Census Bureau is set to release more information, particularly in regards to population by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin across the country in June of this year.

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