State's population increases by 79,000 in census updating


Maryland grew a little more crowded last year as births, plus new arrivals from other states and countries, bumped up the state's population by about 79,000, to more than 5,375,000.

That's more than enough new Marylanders in the 15 months between the 2000 Census and July 1, 2001, to populate another Annapolis. Twice.

The Census Bureau's new state population estimates for last year, released last week, found that Maryland remained the nation's 19th-largest state. It was the 16th-fastest-growing state during the study period, with the 11th-largest numerical gain.

Also, Maryland was one of 18 states that grew faster than the national average.

"This follows the trends of recent decades," said Pradeep Ganguly, chief economist for Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development. "It says Maryland is still an attractive place to live."

State residents brought 94,603 babies into the world, while 54,845 Marylanders died during the same period, for a net natural gain of 39,758 people.

The state had an almost identical net increase - 39,542 people - from foreign and domestic migration. Foreign immigration accounted for 26,903 people, about two-thirds of the total.

The newcomers are drawn by jobs, said Ganguly, who asserted that foreign migration especially is driven by the information technology industry. "We are generating a lot of jobs that demand highly skilled labor. ... It's fairly good news for the state," he said.

The Census Bureau estimates the nation's population each July after the decennial census, using birth and death records, immigration and domestic migration data. The estimates just released are the first since the 2000 Census.

Nationally, the bureau counted slightly more than 5 million births and nearly 3 million deaths between April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2001, for an increase of about 2 million people.

Foreign immigration added 1.34 million, for a total estimated increase of nearly 3.4 million people, or 1.2 percent. That brought the nation's population in July to 284.8 million. The 2000 Census counted 281.4 million.

Among other findings:

Nevada was the fastest-growing state by far, with an increase of 5.4 percent between the 2000 Census and July's estimate. It was followed by Arizona (3.4 percent) and Colorado (2.7 percent).

California gained almost 630,000 people, about a fifth of the nation's total population growth. More than half, 343,693, resulted from foreign immigration, the rest from births. Eighty-eight thousand more people left California for other states than moved in.

Four states - Iowa, Louisiana, North Dakota and West Virginia - and the District of Columbia had net population losses.

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