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  Chapter One:

  Size and Growth Rate
  Life Expectancy
  Age Structure
  Population Drift
  Urban, Rural, Suburban
  Foreign Born
  Large Cities



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Population Drift

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As the nation grew, the share of the population living in the Northeast and Midwest declined, while the share residing in the West grew rapidly and the South remained the most populous region.
In 1900, the majority of Americans lived in the colder sections of the country, the Northeast and Midwest (see upper charts). By 1990, the majority lived in the West and South, areas of relatively mild winters and hot summers (see lower charts). The spread of household air conditioning after World War II played a key role in this transformation. 

A significant portion of this population shift can be traced to the exceptional growth of California. In 1900, 1.5 million people resided in the state, making it the twenty-first largest in the nation. By 2000, California’s population had grown to 33 million, making it almost as large as the next two most populous states (Texas and New York) combined. 

Although the Census Bureau considers Texas a southern state, Texans often argue that it is a western state. If Texas were included with the western states, the West would have been the most populous region of the country at the end of the century.

Chapter 1 chart 5

Source Notes
Source Abbreviations

HS series A 172; SA 1999, table 35.


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