National News

Florida is the fifth-fastest growing state of 2017. Who beat us?

Posted December 29, 2017 10:31 p.m. EST

Florida was the nation's fifth-fastest growing state in 2017, according to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau -- and that's before counting the influx of Puerto Rican residents after Hurricane Maria.

In the count, which estimated the nation's population on July 1, the top state was Idaho, where the population grow by 2.2 percent. Next came Nevada (2 percent), followed by Utah (1.9), Washington (1.7) and Florida (1.6).

Far more total people are new to Florida, which has nearly 21 million residents, than to those other, faster growing, smaller states. The 327,811 new Floridians were only surpassed by new Texans (399,374). For context, Florida's new residents amounted to a city between the population of Tampa (377,000) and St. Petersburg (260,000).

The July 1 count date was before Maria devastated Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands in the fall. By Dec. 5, some 215,000 Puerto Ricans living on the island had arrived in Florida, according to CBS affiliate WFOR-Ch. 4 in Miami.

The United States population is now 325.7 million people, the Census estimates. About half of the nation's 2.3 million new residents are immigrants, although the immigration rate dropped slightly from last year.

Among new Floridians, 49 percent moved here from other states and 43 percent from other countries. The remaining additional residents, about 22,000, was the difference between births over deaths in Florida.

Florida's population hit 20 million residents in 2015. The additional residents translate to greater power in Washington, as Florida is on track to add two seats in Congress, going from 27 to 29, following the 2020 census.

Contact Langston Taylor at 727-893-8659 or ltaylor@tampabay.com. Follow @langstonitaylor.