This post is written by Jimmie Covington, veteran Memphis reporter with lengthy experience covering governmental, school, and demographic issues. He is a contributing writer with The Best Times, a monthly news magazine for active people 50 and older, where this initially appeared.  

By Jimmie Covington

Tennessee’s population grew slightly faster than the national rate in the year that ended last June 30 and the state moved ahead of Indiana to become the nation’s 16thlargest state, the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates show.

Elsewhere in the Mid-South, Mississippi lost population during the year but held onto its ranking of 32nd in size among states.

Arkansas’s growth rate trailed the national rate. However, the state kept its 33rdranking.

If the current patterns continue, the estimates indicate that Arkansas will soon move ahead of Mississippi in population.

Annual estimates for the nation and states are released each year in late December. The estimates are for the previous July 1. The estimates for counties will be released in a few months with the numbers for cities and towns coming a few months after that.

The July 1, 2016, estimates are:

—  Tennessee—6,651,194, a 56,138 increase, or 0.9 percent, from 6,595,056 on July 1, 2015.

—  Mississippi—2,988,726, a drop of 664 from 2,989,390 a year earlier.

—  Arkansas—2,988,248, an increase of 10,395, or 0.3 percent, from 2,977,853 a year earlier

Census officials estimated the nation’s population was 323,127,513 last July 1, an increase of 2,230,895, or 0.7 percent, from 320,896,618 the previous July 1.

Of the growth, 1,231,732 came from the natural increase of births exceeding deaths and 999,163 stemmed from more people moving in from foreign countries than moving away.

The 56,138 Tennessee gain from 2015 to 2016 stemmed from 15,989 more births than deaths and a net gain of 39,959 from more people moving into the state than moving away.

The net movement, or migration, breakdown was 9,440 from other countries and 30,519 from within the United States.

The components of the 664 Mississippi loss were a 6,874 increase from births exceeding deaths and a 7,467 migration loss consisting of a gain of 2,223 from other countries and a 9,690 loss to movement within the United States.

Arkansas’ 10,395 increase consisted of 7,355 more births than deaths and a 3,530 migration gain, including 3,335 in net movement from other countries and 195 from movement within the United States.

Nationally, Texas had the greatest growth in numbers, 432,957, and Utah had the top growth rate, 2 percent.

The size rankings the top five most populated states remained unchanged under the 2015 to 2016 estimates.  The states are:

States                  2016 Population          Rank

California             39,250,017                    1

Texas                   27,862,596                   2

Florida                 20,612,439                    3

New York            19,745,289                    4

Illinois                  12,801,539                    5