A heat map of the population of the 50 US states.

US States By Population

In the United States, a nation comprised of 50 states and multiple territories, the distribution of its population comprising of 333,287,557 varies significantly. According to the US Census Bureau, it has been noted that the ten most populated states share a direct border with significant water bodies. The correlation between access to such water bodies and robust infrastructure appears crucial in supporting large populations. It is also worth highlighting that five separate US territories and the District of Columbia, despite not being states, make a significant contribution to the country's demographic landscape.

Total Population Of US States

Rank State Population Estimates
1 California 39,029,342
2 Texas 30,029,572
3 Florida 22,244,823
4 New York 19,677,151
5 Pennsylvania 12,972,008
6 Illinois 12,582,032
7 Ohio 11,756,058
8 Georgia 10,912,876
9 North Carolina 10,698,973
10 Michigan 10,034,113
11 New Jersey 9,261,699
12 Virginia 8,683,619
13 Washington 7,785,786
14 Arizona 7,359,197
15 Tennessee 7,051,339
16 Massachusetts 6,981,974
17 Indiana 6,833,037
18 Missouri 6,177,957
19 Maryland 6,164,660
20 Wisconsin 5,892,539
21 Colorado 5,839,926
22 Minnesota 5,717,184
23 South Carolina 5,282,634
24 Alabama 5,074,296
25 Louisiana 4,,590,241
26 Kentucky 4,512,310
27 Oregon 4,240,137
28 Oklahoma 4,019,800
29 Connecticut 3,626,205
30 Utah 3,380,800
31 Iowa 3,200,517
32 Nevada 3,177,772
33 Arkansas 3,045,637
34 Mississippi 2,940,057
35 Kansas 2,937,150
36 New Mexico 2,113,344
37 Nebraska 1,967923
38 Idaho 1,939,033
39 West Virginia 1,775,156
40 Hawaii 1,440,196
41 New Hampshire 1,395,231
42 Maine 1,385,340
43 Montana 1,122,867
44 Rhode Island 1,093,734
45 Delaware 1,018,396
46 South Dakota 909,824
47 North Dakota 779,261
48 Alaska 733,583
49 Vermont 647,064
50 Wyoming 581,381

Data taken from the United States Census Bureau in June, 2023.

The Largest State By Population Is California

A little less than one of every eight United States residents lives here in the Golden State. World Population Review’s statistics show that Cali is way ahead of Texas, with over 10 million more people. However, Texas is physically larger than California by about 100,000 square miles. In third-place, Florida has around 7.5 million less residents than Texas which is remarkable considering its size, in comparison. Certainly, Florida's 270 degree access to both the Gulf and Atlantic, as well as pleasant and even terrain, are important factors.

So why is California home to so many? At the start of the 1900s, there were only two million people here. As people moved out west, the population grew to 10 million by the 1950s. Although the rate of growth has slowed, it certainly has not stopped. Migration here has shifted, though, and rather than being mostly domestic, more people move here from other countries: More than 10 million of the people who call California home are immigrants. This is more than any other state in the country. The majority of these immigrants hail from Mexico, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, India, El Salvador, and Korea. So in terms of cultural variety, California has the best of everything, from everywhere.

Here are some more 2023 Cali stats:

  • 40.2% of California state residents are Latino
  • 35.2% are white
  • 15.9% are Asian American
  • 6.5% are Black or African American
  • 4.2% are multiracial
  • Less than 1% are Pacific Islander or American Indian

The state sure is a melting pot, and also has some of the most famous cities in the world, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and San Francisco. Natural beauty abounds here too, with Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley, and Big Sur. Additional tourist attractions include Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Disneyland, Monterey, and Newport Beach. The weather here is also legendary, with plenty of high temperatures and sunshine year-round.

The Smallest State By Population is Wyoming

As the tenth-largest state in square miles, Wyoming has the smallest population at just 581,381. In fact, it has been called “a small town with a very long main street.” It is landlocked, with a landscape that is not as livable as other states. It has sparse rainfall, wide valleys and plans, flat, treeless basins, and rugged, high terrains. There are many large ranches here, which keep the towns and cities far apart.

On top of this, close to half of Wyoming’s land is used for grazing and not much else.  The U.S. Government owns a lot of the state’s land, meaning that they control its mining, logging, and grazing. In a sense, the high populations of the US' coastal regions would be unsustainable without the agricultural support from states like Wyoming — it takes all kinds.

US States by Population
A Map of the Distribution of Population Across the U.S.

Comparing Land Area to Population

While a region's massive size (in square miles) may suggest a large population, this is not always the case. For instance, according to the data provided, Alaska ranks first in total land area with 665,384 square miles. However, it ranks near the bottom in terms of population with only 733,583 inhabitants. On the contrary, New Jersey, one of the smallest states by land area (ranked 47 with 8,723 square miles), houses a significantly larger population of 9,261,699. Hence, it becomes evident that a state's size does not necessarily correspond to its population. Other factors such as urbanization, economic opportunities, and livability can play substantial roles in population size.

The Populations of the Five US Territories and Washington, D.C.

Other US Regions Population
District of Columbia 671,803
Puerto Rico 3,221,789
Guam 173,119
U.S. Virgin Islands 103,973
Northern Mariana Islands


American Samoa 54,834 

Apart from the 50 states, the US has several territories whose inhabitants are American citizens, but these regions lack the same level of representation in the federal government. These territories were generally acquired as a result of military conflict, negotiations, or exploration.

One exception is the District of Columbia, now home to 671,803 people, which was established in 1790 as the nation's capital, formed from land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. It is not a state or under the jurisdiction of any state; rather, it is a physical representation of the Federal Government.

On the other hand, territories experienced specific circumstances to be occupied and considered as-such: for example, Puerto Rico, with a population of 3,221,789, became a U.S. territory following the Spanish-American War in 1898. It is possible that it will receive statehood, but that has been a disputed topic over the last few decades.


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