Washington had the eighth largest population increase among the states in the year between July 2011 and 2012, according to new census data.

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Washington had the eighth largest population increase among the states in the year between July 2011 and 2012, according to new census data.

The state grew at a rate of 1.1 percent, adding nearly 74,000 new residents during that 12-month period — with more than a third of them relocating here from overseas.

The rate of growth in the state exceeded that of the nation as a whole, which added 2.3 million people, bringing America’s population in July to 313.9 million. Washington ranks 13th among the states with 6.8 million people.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates change in the population between decennial census years, taking into account natural growth — the total number of births minus deaths — as well as domestic and international migration.

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Local governments use the estimates to locate services and the private sector uses them to locate businesses.

In terms only of domestic migration — that is, people moving from one state to another — Washington had the ninth largest net increase, drawing almost 14,000 more people here from other states than it lost.

Rick Olson, spokesman for the Puget Sound Regional Council, pointed out that this region and, by extension, the state, are “outpacing other states in terms of economic recovery.

“The primary drivers have been the aerospace and the information-technology sectors,” he said.

In fact, at a time when many Americans were picking up and moving elsewhere in search of work in a still struggling U.S. economy, more than half the states saw net domestic population losses, meaning more people left than came, the data show. Only the growth they experienced through births and international migration saved them from overall population declines.

New York lost nearly 116,000 more people to other states than it gained, Illinois had a net loss domestically of 73,000 and California, 44,000.

California nevertheless remained the nation’s most populous state, a function largely of its high birthrate and large numbers of newcomers arriving from other nations.

Its overall increase in population — 357,500 — was second only to that of Texas.

The big population winners, domestically, were states often the butt of late-night talk-show jokes — like the Carolinas, Tennessee and Texas.

Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or lturnbull@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @turnbullL.

Biggest population gains
The Census Bureau regularly estimates the changes in state populations, taking into account births, deaths and the numbers of people moving to and from other states or nations. In the months between July 2011 and July 2012, these states had the biggest overall gains in population:
State Pop. gain
Texas 427,400
California 357,500
Florida 235,300
Georgia 107,500
North Carolina 101,000
Arizona 86,000
Virginia 81,500
Washington 73,700
Colorado 71,300
New York 68,600
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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