Census: NYC population surges to 8.8 million with almost all growth in cities

New 2020 Census data was released Thursday, showing that almost all of the nation's population growth was in its cities, while more than half of all counties saw their population decline since 2010.

New York City's population surged to 8.80 million, up from 8.17 million in 2010.

The 10 largest cities all grew this past decade, and eight of the 10 grew at a faster rate this decade compared to the last.

In New Jersey, Newark remains the largest city with 311,449 residents, growing by 1.8%

Jersey City's population increased by nearly 6%, but it remains the second larges with 292,449 residents.

Jersey City's development has been explosive over the past decade, but Newark has also grown -- enough to remain the most populous city in the state.

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"No matter what, just look to the children because they'll lead the way," Payson's mother said.


The Census numbers are important for redistricting, and both cities incentivized residents' returning their Census forms last year.

But the numbers are also important in the sometimes tongue-in-cheek rivalry between the two cities.

It is likely that at some point in the future, Jersey City will overtake Newark, which has been the state's largest city since the 1850s, but not this decade.

Nationwide, cities have grown faster than the U.S. as a whole

"Population growth this decade was almost entirely in metro areas," said Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the US Census Bureau. "Texas is a good example of this, where parts of the Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas Fort Worth, Midland and Odessa metro areas had population growth, whereas many of the state's other counties had population declines."

Population in metro areas grew by 8.7% since 2010, while the US population grew from roughly 308.7 million in 2010 to 331.4 million, a 7.35% increase. That's the slowest population growth since 1930-1940, the decade of the Great Depression.

The U.S. also became more diverse over the past decade, and the white population dropped for the first time on record.

The new figures offered the most detailed portrait yet of how the country has changed since 2010, and they are sure to set off an intense partisan battle over representation at a time of deep national division and fights over voting rights. The numbers could help determine control of the House in the 2022 elections and provide an electoral edge for years to come. The data will also shape how $1.5 trillion in annual federal spending is distributed.

The figures show continued migration to the South and West at the expense of counties in the Midwest and Northeast. The share of the white population fell from 63.7% in 2010 to 57.8% in 2020, the lowest on record, though white people continue to be the most prevalent racial or ethnic group.

However, that changed in California, where Hispanics became the largest racial or ethnic group, growing to 39.4% from 37.6% over the decade, while the share of white people dropped from 40.1% to 34.7%.

"The U.S. population is much more multiracial and much more racially and ethnically diverse than what we have measured in the past," said Nicholas Jones, a Census Bureau official.

The data comes from compiling forms filled out last year by tens of millions of Americans, with the help of census takers and government statisticians to fill in the blanks when forms were not turned in or questions were left unanswered. The numbers reflect countless decisions made over the past 10 years by individuals to have children, move to another part of the country or to come to the U.S. from elsewhere.

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The release offers states the first chance to redraw their political districts in a process that is expected to be particularly brutish since control over Congress and statehouses is at stake. It also provides the first opportunity to see, on a limited basis, how well the Census Bureau fulfilled its goal of counting every U.S. resident during what many consider the most difficult once-a-decade census in recent memory.

"The data we are releasing today meet our high quality data standards," acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin said.

Even before it began, the headcount was challenged by attempted political interference from the Trump administration's failed efforts to add a citizenship question to the census form, a move that critics feared would have a chilling effect on immigrant or Hispanic participation. The effort was stopped by the Supreme Court.

(CNN Wire and the Associated Press contributed to this report)

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