10 Largest States in the US by Population
The United States is known for its wide variety of landscapes, people, and climates. Whether you’re looking to settle down in the countryside, embrace the nightlife of a bustling city, hit the slopes year-round, or relax on a sandy beach, the US has it all! From coast to coast, you can choose from every type of living situation imaginable so making that final decision as to where to move can be daunting.
Want to know what other people have done and follow in their footsteps? Narrow down your search by checking out the top 10 most populated states and see what all the hype is about. You might even find your next home in the list below.
California comes in at number one for the highest population in the United States. This state spans the west coast nearly top to bottom and offers a diverse assortment of people. The landscape varies from sprawling beaches to redwood forests to snowcapped mountains.
California is also home to some of the most densely populated and well-known cities in the country, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Fresno, and Sacramento. California’s appeal makes it the home to 12% of the entire United States population. The economy also holds its own: It’s the largest in all of the US and the second-largest subnational economy in the world. Below are a few facts outlined by the U.S. Census Bureau from 2020 on California:
- Population: 39,538,223
- Population per square mile: 253.7
- Median household income (2016-2020): $78,672
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $2,422
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $618
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $1,586
- Capital city: Sacramento
Number two on the list of largest US states is the state of Texas. Compared to California, Texas is over 100,000 square miles larger but has about 10 million fewer people. Texas is known for its rich history, delicious southern food, cowboys, rodeos, and, of course, being home to the NASA space center, the command base for U.S. space missions in Houston, Texas.
The climate in Texas varies from dry, hot weather in the western half to subtropical humidity in the east. Seventeen cities in Texas are some of the hottest areas in the country. As the saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas,” including the state itself. Texas comes in at a whopping 268,597 square miles or 171,902,080 acres. In fact, if Texas were to be ranked among the countries of the world, it would come in as the 40th largest in land size.
If you’re looking to spread your wings a bit, Texas definitely has the space to move around. Check out a few facts below from the 2020 Census:
- Population: 29,145,505
- Population per square mile: 111.6
- Median household income (2016-2020): $63,826
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $1,654
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $526
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $1,082
- Capital city: Austin
Florida ranks number three in the top ten most populated states in the U.S. This state is a popular vacation spot for anyone wanting to escape the cold or just looking for a beautiful beach to explore. But millions have chosen to make Florida their permanent home by moving to the Sunshine State and living there year-round.
The winters of Florida are mild and attract loads of visitors, thanks to temperatures that remain at a pleasant 75 degrees in January and February. Florida has the longest coastline, 1,197 statute miles, in all the contiguous US, including 825 miles of pristine beaches. Besides the beautiful ocean views, Florida has 175 state parks, along with several state forests, national parks, and scenic trails to explore via hiking, biking, or even horseback riding. The Florida Everglades is a well-known spot for the adventurous type to discover the beauty of mangrove forests, marshes, and, of course, the variety of wildlife that calls this rich ecosystem home. Learn a few more facts below:
- Population: 21,538,187
- Population per square mile: 401.4
- Median household income (2016-2020): $57,703
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $1,539
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $513
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $1,218
- Capital city: Tallahassee
4. New York
It may surprise you that New York comes in at number four on our list. Despite the state being a bit lower on the list than expected, New York City itself is ranked as the number one most populated city in the US. The residents of the city make up almost half of the entire state’s population.
The city of New York is most known for its spectacular city life, boasting an array of Broadway theaters, museums, music venues, famous skyscrapers, and, at the heart of it all, Times Square. Head north in the state and you can visit the Baseball Hall of Fame and Adirondack Park. The park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous US, covering six million acres of land.
New York also contains 3,000 lakes and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams. By climbing up all 46 of its highest mountain peaks, you can earn the distinguished title of a “46-er.” New York typically has comfortably warm summers and can treat you to a snowy winter, perfect for all your favorite winter sports. A few more statistics to note are below:
- Population: 20,201,249
- Population per square mile: 428.7
- Median household income (2016-2020): $71,117
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $2,174
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $781
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $1,315
- Capital city: Albany
Pennsylvania has also become a popular spot for people to settle, making it number five on the list. Most of the state’s population lives in or around its most famous city, Philadelphia. On its own, Philadelphia has 1.56 million residents, more than the entire state of Hawaii. Pennsylvania is most widely known for its place in the history of the United States. The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were drafted right there on Philly’s cobblestone streets. Today, you can visit many historic locations throughout the state, such as Independence Hall, Gettysburg, and the Mason-Dixon line.
Pennsylvania is not only home to historical sites but also is the location of 21 Fortune 500 companies. The job market is built on established industries and major corporations inspiring many to start their business in this state. If big business and history aren’t your thing, head out to the countryside where you can find a small town to settle down in or build a place of your own away from the city. Pennsylvania may be a small state, but it offers a wide range of housing options to suit a variety of budgets. Check out a few points from the 2020 Census:
- Population: 12,002,700
- Population per square mile: 290.6
- Median household income (2016-2020): $63,627
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $1,505
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $542
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $958
- Capital city: Harrisburg
The midwestern state of Illinois is number six on the list of most populated states in the US. Most people think of the busy metropolis of Chicago when they think of Illinois, but this unique state has a variety of landscapes to suit a range of tastes. Rich farmlands cover much of the state, which contains many of the natural resources we use every day such as petroleum, timber, and coal.
Illinois also features beautiful state forests where you can explore sandstone rock formations, hike to breathtaking waterfalls, and wander along riverside trails surrounded by wildlife. If you’re more of a city buff, head straight to Chicago to enjoy the “Windy City” with its spectacular skyscrapers, iconic Millennium Park, shopping malls, and every variety of food you could ask for, along with the world-famous annual music festival, Lollapalooza. Once you’ve had your fill of city life, you can take a trip to the beach for a little relaxation on the shores of Lake Michigan. Illinois Beach State Park provides 6.5 miles of sandy shoreline for you to sunbathe, hike, and camp during a weekend away.
This Midwestern state has quite the variety of landscapes to choose from, so check out the stats from the Census to see if Illinois is the place for you:
- Population: 12,812,508
- Population per square mile: 231.1
- Median household income (2016-2020): $68,428
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $1,709
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $650
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $1,038
- Capital city: Springfield
Ohio, ranking number seven on the list, is a Midwestern state that is located nearly in the center of the US. The state truly embodies the persona of midwestern hospitality and promotes a family-friendly culture and a slower-paced lifestyle. Ohio is home to popular cities such as Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Cleveland, along with remote country areas booming with farms, fresh produce, and rolling landscapes.
The cities offer a variety of cultural hotspots, such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Contemporary Arts Center. You can also experience all sorts of outdoor activities in the many state parks, including hiking trails, caves, and waterfalls. One of the most well-known spots in Ohio is Cedar Point, where you can try out some of the most impressive roller coasters and thrill rides in the country. U.S. News ranked Ohio as first in the country for affordability, even as its population continues to grow.
Look over a few more facts below to learn more:
- Population: 11,799,448
- Population per square mile: 288.8
- Median household income (2016-2020): $58,116
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $1,286
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $480
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $825
- Capital city: Columbus
Georgia comes in at number eight with over 10 million people calling this southern state their home. Georgia has a beautiful variety of landscapes, including miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, the Appalachian Trail, and plenty of farmland. One of its most famous former residents is civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and his family home is a popular destination for visitors.
Georgia is nicknamed “The Peach State” thanks to its delicious, locally-grown peaches, which have been farmed in the area since 1751. There are parks, lakes, mountains, islands, and swamps ready for roaming throughout the state. Georgia is one of the fastest growing states in the union, with a growth rate over ten years of 14.4%. Job growth is also significant in Georgia with major companies such as Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines based in the Peach State. Discover a few more facts below:
- Population: 10,711,908
- Population per square mile: 185.6
- Median household income (2016-2020): $61,224
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $1,449
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $435
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $1,042
- Capital city: Atlanta
9. North Carolina
Ranking number nine on the list of most populated states in the US. is the southeastern state of North Carolina. This coastal state offers all spectrums of landscape, from its beautiful Atlantic shoreline to its towering Appalachian Mountain range. North Carolina has 300 miles of coastline and almost all of it is accessible beachfront, the most famous of which is known as the Outer Banks, or OBX. This area has no cities but instead is dotted with charming seaside villages that invite you to meander their streets and grab a bite at their numerous restaurants.
If you’re looking to advance your education, North Carolina is home to about 205 colleges and universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which ranked number 28 among the top universities in the U.S. in 2021. Besides beaches and colleges, North Carolina is also famous for its food—Eastern- and Lexington-style barbecue, fried green tomatoes, and the world-famous Krispy Kreme donuts. To complement its cuisine, North Carolina has over 200 wineries and 500 vineyards and is the 10th largest producer of grapes and wine in all of the United States. Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem are North Carolina’s flagship cities.
Check out some more North Carolina stats below:
- Population: 10,439,388
- Population per square mile: 214.7
- Median household income (2016-2020): $56,642
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $1,328
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $402
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $932
- Capital city: Raleigh
Michigan rounds off the list at number 10. This Midwestern state draws businesses, families, and individuals with its access to four of the five Great Lakes. Michigan is the only state in the United States that has two separate peninsulas, the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. About 60% of Michigan’s coastline is along lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, or Erie. The lakes themselves contain 21% of the world’s fresh surface water and are a hugely popular destination for boaters and fishermen.
The largest city in Michigan, Detroit, is well known as the heart of the American auto industry. This city was once the leading producer of automobiles worldwide, many of which can now be seen throughout a diverse mix of museums and monuments commemorating Michigan’s unique position in the automotive sector. The views around the state are spectacular, not only due to their expansive waterscapes but also the more than 115 lighthouses scattered throughout the coastline. Michigan offers cities full of entertainment and history along with an array of outdoor activities on and around its many lakes, rivers, and parks. See a few more facts below from the 2020 Census:
- Population: 10,077,331
- Population per square mile: 178.0
- Median household income (2016-2020): $59,234
- Median monthly homeowner costs with a mortgage (2016-2020): $1,312
- Median monthly homeowner costs without a mortgage (2016-2020): $495
- Median gross rent (2016-2020): $892
- Capital city: Lansing
What are the least populated states?
While we’ve covered the ten most populated states, you may be curious about which states are the most sparsely populated. The least populated state, with a total of 575,851 residents, is Wyoming. Vermont comes in second with 643,077, followed by the District of Columbia with 689,545, Alaska with 733,391, North Dakota with 779,094, South Dakota with 886,667, and Delaware with 989,948. Montana reaches 1,084,225, then Rhode Island with 1,097,379, and finally Maine with 1,362,529 residents.
Which state will You choose?
Now that you have had the chance to explore the top 10 most populated states in the United States and had a glance at the least populated, which state will you choose to live in? There are many resources available to help you decide the best place to call home, and once you’ve made that important decision, it comes time for the actual move.
Reach out to us for all your moving needs, questions, and concerns. We are here to help and are more than happy to give you the guidance and support you need to make your move across the country, across the state, or just across town a smooth one.