Alabama’s population grew faster in 2022 than in any year in more than a decade, with changing factors producing the growth, according to estimates generated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
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The data, released in December, covers the period between July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022. The Census Bureau estimates that Alabama grew by 24,450 or 0.5% over the period. That growth rate ranks No. 20 nationally and is ahead of Mississippi and Louisiana but behind Southeastern neighbors like Tennessee and the southern states on the East Coast.
From 2010-2017, Alabama grew slowly, with natural change (births minus deaths) and international migration (migrants arriving from another country) providing slow but positive growth.
Since then, factors have flipped. With the arrival of Covid-19, the number of deaths jumped. Natural change has gone negative, with more people dying than being born. While mortality from Covid will decline, the death rate is expected to remain elevated as the large population cohort known as the Baby Boom ages and moves into years of increased mortality.
Meanwhile, with changes to immigration policy during the Trump administration and with restrictions imposed during the pandemic, international immigration contracted. However, for Alabama, the contraction in international migration was offset by a surge in domestic migration: more people moving to Alabama from other U.S. states.
Rates of Change
As part of its data release, the Census Bureau calculates rates of change for the basic factors of population change. The rates are calculated by estimating the change and then adjusting for population.
- Alabama ranks 16th in domestic migration in 2022, but 48th in international immigration.
- Alabama’s birth rate was slightly above the U.S. average in 2022, but claims the 5th highest death rate among U.S. states
Alabama is growing, though not as fast as some of its Southeastern neighbors. Alabama’s high death rate indicates that underlying health challenges and disparities in healthcare access likely contributed to a higher mortality rate. Domestic immigration shows strength, indicating that the state is attracting new residents from other states. However, international immigration rates are lower in Alabama.
Estimates for counties, cities, and metro areas will be released later this year. Those estimates will provide further insight into where people are moving within the state and how other factors affect population change.