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Was Nevada the least populous state until 1960?

By Todd Butterworth on 03/21/2023


Nevada was the least populous state in the 1900 U.S. Census. Alaska gained this distinction in the 1910 census and retained it until 1990. Since 1990, Wyoming has been the least populous state.

Nevada became the fastest-growing state between the 1960 and 1970 censuses and remained so for five decades. Utah, Idaho, Texas, and North Dakota surpassed Nevada in growth rate between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.

While Nevada became the fastest-growing state in the 1960s, the growth trend in western states also helped California surpass New York in population at that time; California has remained the most populous state since. Texas and Florida have also surpassed New York in population.

Several states have claimed the title of slowest growing (or fastest shrinking) since 1900. However, West Virginia has had this distinction in four censuses, the most of any state. 

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Google Docs US Census Data, 1900-2020

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