Historical Population Density Data – U.S. – 1910/2020

In the past few days we have analyzed the distribution of the population in the individual states of the U.S. We have seen how from 1790 to 2020 the distribution of the population has changed and how, to date, the first state by population is California.

In this new article we will explore another parameter. Population density. Population density is a measure of average population per square mile. Density levels have been higher across the Eastern seaboard and the Pacific coastline and lower in much of the West. Historical Population Density Data – U.S.

U.S. Population Density 1500

Let’s start with an initial fact. It is not easy to determine with certainty how many inhabitants there were during the centuries before the declaration of independence by the United States. In a map made by Reddit user Nelson Minar, a guess was made as to how many people were living in the 15th century in the United States.

Reddit User: NelsonMinar

Of course, in the map you have to pay attention to the legend. Legend that will be different in the other videos and content (data range from 0 to a maximum of 20 sq/mile).

It is with the passage of years, and thanks to the historical data in the Census databases, that we can know the year-by-year data of population density.

U.S. Population Density 1910/2020

As the United States, the population grew from 92 million 228 thousand to 331 million 449 thousand from 1910 to 2020. In just 110 years, the population has grown by more than 3.5 times. But how has population density changed over the years?

The population density (average population per square mile) of the United States decade by decade. If in 1910 it was 26, in 2020 it went from 93.8 with an increase of over +350% in just 110 years. Growth was first 4/5 points per decade from 1910 to 1950, and then continued to increase by as much as 9 points from 1990 to 2000. From 1990 to 2000, in fact, population growth in the United States was nearly 33 million and population density increased from 70.4 to 79.7.

Top 20 State by Population Density 1910-2020

If the average for the United States is 93.6, which states have the most population per square mile (average)? In first place, for the entire reference period, from 1910 to 2020, is District Of Columbia. This State has a value that was, already in 1910, 331.069 p/sq.mi. In second place, in 1910, was Rhode Island, with 524.9 and Massachusetts with 431.6. Among the first states, in seventh place, was New York with a value of 193.4. Historical Population Density Data – U.S.

And in 2020, what is the situation? District of Columbia is obviously still in the lead with a value of 689,000. In second place is New Jersey, which over the years has overtaken Rhode Island (currently third). These two states have a value of over 1000. Rhode Island’s population density, for example, has doubled in 110 years.

For convenience I have added the same data excluding the District Of Columbia data.

Here we can see even more clearly how New Jersey overtook Rhode Island in the early 1960s. Puerto Rico has been close to New Jersey for many years reaching over 1100. But from 2010 to 2020 Puerto Rico’s population in terms of density has definitely declined coming in at 959.6 in 2020. Overall, the 20th state in 1910 had a value of 47.9 (Missouri). In 2020 in 20th place we find South Carolina which has a value over 3 times the value of Missouri in 1910. In fact this is 170.2

Population density from 1910 to 2020 for Each State

Finally, for those interested, I have produced this table with population density data for all states from 1910 to 2020.

In the table you can see the data every 20 years. I have also added a small graph showing the variation of the data over time.

The nation with the lowest population density in 1910 was Alaska, followed by Nevada and Wyoming. In 2020 the situation has changed. Alaska still has the lowest population density (1.3), but it has grown considerably since 1910 (0.1). In second place is no longer Nevada, which had a figure of 0.7 in 1910, but Wyoming. Nevada went from 0.7 in 1910 to 28.3 in 2020, with a very strong increase especially between 1990 and 2020, when it went from 10.9 to 24.6.

Sources and links

The sources used for this article are diverse. The first is the Census, where you can find data for individual states from 1910 to 2020. In addition, I used this interesting article that presents very useful data even before the period under consideration: https://vividmaps.com/us-map-population-density/.

If you liked the article I recommend you also read this one: https://statisticsanddata.org/data/population-of-each-us-state-1790-2020/

Or this: https://statisticsanddata.org/data/most-populous-cities-in-the-u-s-1790-2020/

To watch the video: https://youtu.be/Ye9tHr6xTpQ

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